It wasn't very shocking to learn that certain Denver public servants (police) were not happy with proposed rule changes aiming to “streamline” their disciplinary process.
Illustrating just how much things can change over time, the thought Denver service professionals would be upset over proposed rule changes that aim to create a more fair and impartial atmosphere, with regard to currently obvious disciplinary bias, shows just how far the scales of justice have tipped in favor of the establishment, in many locations around the country.
Over the past few decades, as Denver's population grew, so too did the number of complaints about the nature of policing and the way people residing in many Denver area precincts were being treated by local officers. Abuse of power steadily increased over time and area police eventually became known for their own cultural brand of corruption, much like many other larger metropolitan areas of the country.
Similar to the LAPD, as highlighted by the recent Christopher Dorner PR nightmare resulting in a second former LAPD officer manifesto and an international embarrassment to policing agencies everywhere, Denver's as well boasts its own reputation as being an agency that will also enforce a strict “blue line” that shall not be crossed without potentially harsh penalties for officers who do, regardless of the overall seriousness of any particular alleged violation.
Despite the obvious existence of many honorable officers that still remain, a growing number now seem to be more inclined to uphold the blue code than they are the rule of law and the general citizenry has been forced to take the brunt of the situation. Internal affairs and even alleged judicial oversight often appear to be of little help, as if they too are seemingly beholden to the same code of brotherhood and ultimate power and control over honor.
An officer's word is also universally given much more weight in the court of law than the average citizen, despite there being no evidence to support such a pattern as being fair, moral or accurate.
As a result of these and other circumstances, today's police in general are seen in a much different light than ever and have been reduced to being largely labeled a necessary evil. Even more so now due to the information age allowing just about anyone the ability to pull up the latest brutality video on the web showing an officer somewhere in the US using excessive force or simply gunning down a defenseless or unarmed victim.
Any contact with the police is statistically more dangerous than ever and the objective today is to avoid police contact, if at all possible. If you happen to be someone who lives in an inner-city, the projects or an area where “minorities” are predominant, the reality for citizens and their relationships with local officers in those areas is knowingly much worse.
Cell phone cameras and millions of fixed security video locations however have revolutionized America's ability to record almost everything they see and display it with relative ease for everyone else to see as well. This has created a growing awareness of just how serious the situation has become and circumstances like the unwarranted, Rodney King-style beating of Denver resident Alex Landau in 2009, popping up in the news again recently, and other alleged rights violations by Denver police in recent years raises even more questions about how out of control the problem has truly become.
But in a move that could set a precedent for other areas of the country, newly proposed rule changes to how Denver's officers are treated, once found to have been in violation of their own code of conduct and the rule of law, potentially making the process more like the way everyone else is treated when found to have been in violation, has sent many officers and firefighters into an uproar. Many local service professionals are demanding the system maintain the status quo and continue allowing for the ability to act with virtual impunity as it currently stands.
The current system, specifically stated in "Rule 12" of the Denver Civil Service Commission rulebook, allows for a disciplined officer or firefighter the ability to request an appeal hearing, which forces the safety manager to prove the punishment handed down to a reprimanded officer is warranted. This has given “authorities” an unfair advantage with regard to police brutality cases and other unfortunately common official crimes against the citizenry.
In total contrast, the proposed changes would include forcing officers to instead show the punishment handed down to them is unjust, placing the onus on the officers themselves to prove their innocence, much like the rest of society is forced to do when they are convicted of a crime.
According to reports, city officials, including Manager of Safety Alex Martinez and City Attorney Douglas Friednash, stated that “the changes are necessary to shorten and streamline the disciplinary process.”
But In addition to other proposed changes, such as limiting the time in which officers have to prepare for appeal hearings in general and striking down the ability for supervisors of the accused to recommend disciplinary actions during appeal hearings, the overall direction the changes take the disciplinary process leads to a place Denver's public servants don't want to be, on a more level playing field with the general citizenry.
Denver police are so upset about the proposed rule changes, especially in Rule 12, they recently purchased over 30 Denver area billboards in hopes of ironically gaining public support for the abolishment of the proposal.
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