Denver Police Face Hard Times in Wake of Raid 

Denver Police Face Hard Times in Wake of Raid 
Posted by FoM on March 12, 2000 at 05:54:37 PT
By Dan Luzadder, DRN Staff Writer
Source: InsideDenver
On the streets, Denver's police are feeling the fallout from a faulty no-knock warrant that left a man dead and a perception that officers are too aggressive.Stories about Ismael Mena's death and a police recruit hired despite a lengthy history of drug abuse have taken their toll.
"It's difficult at times," says Mark Crider, a veteran officer who works on the Neighborhood Police Officer unit in District 6. "People accuse us of being a bunch of drug users."Mike Lemmons and Aaron Lopez, also members of the neighborhood police unit, say officers become discouraged and sometimes may not be as aggressive as they need to be."How are you supposed to feel when you go out every day and risk your life for people you are supposed to protect, and you get these kinds of reactions ... accusations that officers are bad or corrupt," Lopez said. "Even if you know it isn't true, it gets to you."But they also see a change coming in the Denver Police Department, largely over the issue of community policing, a policy that has been touted by Mayor Wellington Webb and his interim police chief, Gerry Whitman.Lemmons says there is resistance from some veteran officers, who disagree with the precepts of community policing. And that is a division that has widened within the department."I think some of them think community policing is too soft," he says. "It isn't, but that's what some of them think. And they want to do things the way they have always done them."The NPO squad agrees on one thing. Community policing, the way they practice it -- keeping in close touch with the community by attending meetings and personally returning phone calls, following up on cases, developing trust as foot patrols did in years past -- requires more police officers to make it work."It all takes a lot of time," Lemmons says. "And it takes a commitment from the department to give the time and freedom to make this all work."Published: March 12, 2000  Copyright, Denver Publishing Co Related Articles:Community Police Group Uses Knock-and-Talk Tactic Police Chief Stepping Down No-Knock Raid Sparks FBI Probe Knock Numbers Going Up To Slam Door Shut On Some Raids 
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