An independent monitor with unprecedented access to criminal and internal police investigations would head up Denver’s new form of civilian oversight under a proposal by Mayor John Hickenlooper, reports the Rocky Mountain News. Sweeping changes suggested for the city’s civilian oversight of the police department would cost about $500,000 and require two charter changes and a new city ordinance. The charter changes would require voter approval. “There is nothing I will work any harder on for the city,” Hickenlooper said. “We will find the money without raising any taxes.” Police Chief Gerry Whitman said the proposal is workable but will require selecting a neutral monitor. “Effective and robust civilian oversight has to be a critical component of any law enforcement agency,” Hickenlooper told the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
The Office of the Independent Monitor would be mandated to investigate five types of incidents, including all police- or sheriff’s deputy-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and any incident in which a police officer or deputy is charged with or investigated for a felony. One of the most significant changes is that the monitor’s office would be involved in the criminal investigation of police-involved shootings. The monitor would be allowed to observe interviews after an incident from a second room and pass along questions to those conducting the interview.