DENVER (KDVR) – It’s been almost a year since protests erupted across Denver following the tragic death of George Floyd. In the aftermath of the riots, a task force was formed to rethink how Denver public safety could work to prevent unnecessary harm.
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In May and June 2020, protesters took to the streets to fight police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Denver was not excluded from the change requests. Nationwide cities had to work to find a new future for police and public safety.
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“Cities like Ithaca, New York have really started to think about what public safety and policing should be like in their communities,” said Dr. Robert Davis, task force project coordinator. “I can’t think of a city as progressive as Denver would not jump on board trying to find sensible solutions with common sense.”
Now the task force has all of its ideas on paper. On Friday, the group unveiled five strategies and 112 recommendations in a report finalized by a diverse group of members, organizations, and nonprofits from across the city. The task force will forward its recommendations to the Denver City Council, the Department of Security, and the Hancock Administration.
“You got sensible, sensible solutions that the community put on their laps,” said Davis.
On Sunday, task force members itemized the highlights of the report and an award for their vision. They say Colorado taxpayers won’t cost any extra money.
“When we use the word Defund, we don’t necessarily have to take away the materials, supplies, weapons and tools that the police department needs, but rather a percentage of what they get from the city budget to other departments such as Human Services “Said Xochitl Gayton of the task force.
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“If we can put money, strength and power into a war, we should be able to have our city council change some things in their charter to present and enforce these recommendations.”
But the task force still has a long way to go. The Denver Department of Security abruptly left the task force in January, frustrated with the lack of oversight.
“I think in the end law enforcement wanted to control the narrative and direction of the task force,” Davis said.
However, on Sunday the security department told FOX31 that they would appreciate the final report and would need time to review and process the recommendations. The task force hopes that its work will gradually change.
“I think the voice of the community is so clear that it will be difficult for any urban entity to just come back and say we won’t,” said Davis.
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