Apr 26, 2023 - News

Denver set to add more than 100 new police officers

Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas during an event in downtown Denver in October 2022. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

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.


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