Two Denver police officers involved in secretly videotaping a supervisor have been were reassigned by Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman, further dividing a department already in turmoil over discipline controversies, the Denver Post reports. Sgt. Bryan O’Neill surreptitiously filmed Commander John Burbach, the head of internal affairs, in an effort to expose what O’Neill believed to be a pattern of bias against his officers. Lt. Daren Ciempa, O’Neill’s supervisor, reportedly approved of the use of a video recorder disguised as a pocket pen in the effort.
Police insiders who support Ciempa and O’Neill said the transfers are roiling a department already in an uproar after the August resignation of Safety Manager Ron Perea. Perea resigned under pressure less than three months after taking the job of running the city’s police, fire, and sheriff departments after civic leaders complained that he was issuing light discipline to police officers accused of using excessive force. Many officers privately say they have grown so disenchanted after Perea’s resignation that they now are doing fewer officer-initiated actions. Statistics the department released last month show that performance measure is, indeed, on the decline. Department insiders say officer-initiated actions are sure to plunge even further.