Denver’s independent monitor scolds sheriff’s department for misleading, inaccurate reports

The Denver Post: In an annual report on Denver police and sheriff’s departments disciplinary issues, the independent monitor scolded the sheriff’s department for having too many misleading or inaccurate reports filed by deputies and recommended that report-writing remain a focus of ongoing reform.

The 2017 annual report, which was released Wednesday morning, also called out the Denver Police Department and the Department of Public Safety for undermining their own disciplinary processes, the report said.

Nick Mitchell, the independent monitor, typically offers a review of disciplinary cases, in-custody deaths and officer-involved shootings and identifies issues with transparency and accountability in the safety department. The monitor also provides an overview of awards and commendations given to the city’s police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

In the latest report, Mitchell commended the sheriff’s department for creating a data science unit, for studying his recommendation that in-person visits be restored at the jail and for changing its handling of internal affairs complaints so it can better track allegations of misconduct.

Within Denver’s safety department, it is common for police officers and sheriff’s deputies to sign settlement agreements in disciplinary cases. In the agreements, an officer admits wrongdoing and promises not to appeal the case in exchange for the department holding the punishment in abeyance. If the officer stays out of trouble for a year, that punishment is never imposed.

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