Excessive-force complaints against Denver police have plunged in the past eight years, closely paralleling a sharp drop in city arrests, reports the Rocky Mountain News. So far this year, there have been an average of about seven complaints a month against police. In 1998, there were 158 complaints, or about 13 a month. The 47 percent drop in complaints comes at a time that arrests have been sliced by more than a third.
There’s not an exact downward match: Arrests have consistently declined, while complaints have varied from year to year. The threat of citizen complaints – and the black mark they can make on an officer’s record – tops the list of explanations that many officers have given for the drop in arrests. And the police union president says that contributes to the decline in excessive force as well. “Officers are using discretion in the cases they handle,” Mike Mosco said. “If you make fewer arrests you get fewer complaints.”