Denver Police Chief Robert White will replace the head of the Internal Affairs Bureau and the division’s staff in an attempt to heal police relations with the public and improve investigations into police misconduct, the Denver Post reports. Manager of Safety Alex Martinez, who oversees Denver’s Sheriff, Fire and Police departments, named retired Judge John Jess Vigil, 59, to a new position: deputy manager of police discipline.
Before he left as Denver’s independent monitor in December, Richard Rosenthal questioned the ability of police to investigate cases of officer misconduct. Rosenthal, who monitored internal investigations, frequently recommended discipline in excessive-force cases that was tougher than officers had been subject to before he arrived in 2005. White said questions raised by Rosenthal played a part in his decision to shake up internal affairs. White said there is a perception among some people that internal affairs sides with cops. The public won’t cooperate with police if residents don’t believe internal affairs is capable of unbiased investigations, White said. He appointed Division Chief Mary Beth Klee, 53, a 29-year veteran of the department, to head the Internal Affairs Bureau.