Denver PD Cops overwhelm Court System E-mail
Written by APB Staff   
There’s a younger, more gung-ho, aggressive police force in Denver these days and their proactive crime fighting tactics has meant a whopping 73 percent increase in misdemeanor arrests over just two years. Last year, misdemeanor prosecutions, involving things such as violations of protection orders, drunken driving cases and traffic violations, rose to a record high of 18,334.

Detective Nick Rogers, vice president of the union representing Denver police officers, said a big hiring push has filled depleted police ranks and an energized police force is emboldened by a new "broken windows" policing philosophy that emphasizes punishing quality-of-life crimes, such as public drinking.

"More cops equals more arrests," Rogers told Denver Post reporter Christopher N. Osher. "And some of the programs such as broken windows has definitely made an impact across the city in regards to crime. The idea is that you let the cops go out and do their job and find the criminals and put them in jail."

But the dramatic increase in arrests is causing a crisis of sorts for the courts which have been overwhelmed by the number of cases.

Before the city moved the arraignment court from the old location at the city jail building into a more spacious courtroom in the City and County Building, the lines were so long that defendants could be seen waiting outside in the freezing cold, sometimes for hours, before they were called for their appearance.

The Denver P.D.’s broken-windows philosophy rewards aggressive officers who crack down on quality-of-life crimes such as graffiti and loitering.

"Broken windows is focused on the small things, those quality-of-life issues, and that's why you're seeing a rise in misdemeanor arrests," said Marco Vasquez, deputy chief of administration at the Denver Police Department. "We're focusing on misdemeanor violations before they move into felony violations."

Denver commanders are also analyzing statistics on crime and meet weekly to discuss what they're doing to respond to crime trends.

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