Mar 15, 2023 - News

Denver law enforcement watchdog report highlights concerns, progress

Illustration of a location pin with a badge-shaped cut-out.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The latest report from the group overseeing Denver's law enforcement watchdog office highlights concerns over staffing shortages in the city's jails and transparency after a police shooting in LoDo last July.

Driving the news: The annual report from the Citizen Oversight Board was released Wednesday.

Why it matters: It details the board's focus in 2022, and zeroes in on areas where the city's police and sheriffs department need work.

Details: The 35-page report outlines four major concerns from the board:

  • The board wasn't able to access footage from the LoDo shooting by Denver police last year, making it hard for them to verify the department's narrative.
  • The Denver Sheriffs Department — which supervises the city's jail — continues facing staffing shortages, and it's common for some deputies to work 14- to 16-hour shifts.
  • The Administrative Investigations Unit, a civilian unit which oversees complaints about sheriffs deputies, doesn't always provide clear details on why some complaints are referred to the sheriffs department for further probing. The board says the department shouldn't be investigating any complaints.
  • The police use of force review board is not transparent enough.

Between the lines: The report cited improved access to medication assisted treatment for inmates, opening a jail diversion center for low-level offenses, and expanding the city's STAR program as progress made by the agencies.

Of note: Liz Perez Castle was confirmed as the city's new independent monitor in January, and has vowed to work closely with the public in her new role.

What's next: The board will give a formal presentation during a virtual public meeting Friday.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more