Denver set to add more than 100 new police officers
Denver's police department expects to add more than 100 more officers over the next year, Chief Ron Thomas said Tuesday.
State of play: The agency has struggled to fill vacancies as officers leave for smaller departments, and finding people who want to be police is getting harder.
Details: The department is anticipating adding at least 113 new officers this year, according to Denver police.
- 36 new officers were sworn-in last month, and 27 will graduate from the department's academy in June, according to police.
Zoom in: The department's May academy has 50 recruits, which Thomas said is the largest class since the start of the pandemic.
- Another 50 are expected to start in the academy in December, according to the department.
What they're saying: "We're proud of that and we believe that's a result of our recruitment work and also our partnership with civil service," Thomas said Tuesday during a press conference hosted by Mayor Michael Hancock focusing on public safety.
By the numbers: Thomas said crime rates downtown are dropping, with property crime and violent crime down 35% and 15% respectively compared to the same time last year.
- The city has recorded a 27% drop in reported car thefts.
- 600 illegal guns have been seized by the department this year.
Between the lines: The department has faced public scrutiny over its use of force following an incident in July 2022 where Denver police opened fire on a man who had a gun and injured bystanders.
- Four people who were injured during the shooting filed a civil rights lawsuit on Tuesday against Officer Brandon Ramos, citing their physical injuries and emotional distress, according to a copy reviewed by Axios.
- The suit alleges Ramos, who was indicted in January for his role, recklessly opened fire despite a large crowd standing nearby.
Of note: Hancock, who supported school resources officers returning to the district, said he wants SROs to remain permanently in place.
- Under the district's current plans, they'll stay through the remainder of the academic year.
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