In an annual report on Denver police and sheriff’s departments disciplinary issues, the independent monitor scolded the sheriff’s department for having too many misleading or inaccurate reports filed by deputies and recommended that report-writing remain a focus of ongoing reform.

The 2017 annual report, which was released Wednesday morning, also called out the Denver Police Department and the Department of Public Safety for undermining their own disciplinary processes, the report said.

Nick Mitchell, the independent monitor, typically offers a review of disciplinary cases, in-custody deaths and officer-involved shootings and identifies issues with transparency and accountability in the safety department. The monitor also provides an overview of awards and commendations given to the city’s police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

In the latest report, Mitchell commended the sheriff’s department for creating a data science unit, for studying his recommendation that in-person visits be restored at the jail and for changing its handling of internal affairs complaints so it can better track allegations of misconduct.

Within Denver’s safety department, it is common for police officers and sheriff’s deputies to sign settlement agreements in disciplinary cases. In the agreements, an officer admits wrongdoing and promises not to appeal the case in exchange for the department holding the punishment in abeyance. If the officer stays out of trouble for a year, that punishment is never imposed.

In April 2017, Officer Adam Lucero was suspended without pay for 30 days after he violated the departments use-of-force policy. He should have received — but did not receive — a second 30-day unpaid suspension because he violated the terms of a settlement agreement signed in August 2016, the monitor’s report said.

“We believe that allowing the officer to violate the agreement without consequence was an error by the (safety department),” Mitchell wrote.

When it comes to report writing at the sheriff’s department, most deputies are trustworthy in their accounts of incidents, Mitchell said. But, in 2017, he found a number of cases where deputies inadvertently made inaccurate reports or wrote misleading reports.

“These cases are just a fraction of the total number of reports prepared by deputy sheriffs during the year, in which no issues of accuracy or veracity were flagged,” the report said. “Yet, they represent an area that we believe requires continuing attention in the ongoing reform of the DSD.”

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Source:: The Denver Post – News


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Denver’s independent monitor scolds sheriff’s department for misleading, inaccurate reports

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