Community meeting

Community meeting with Denver Independent Monitor finalists today

From 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, February 17, you can meet the three finalists from Denver Independent Monitorthe city official responsible for overseeing the Denver Police and Sheriff’s Department, during a virtual community meeting.

Dana Walton-Macaulay, Joseph Lipari and Robert Booth will answer questions from members of the public and hospitality service providers, including the Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, La Raza Services, Harm Reduction Action Center and the Denver Health Community leadership team. This event follows a virtual meeting on February 16 that featured questions from faith leaders and advocates.

Walton-Macaulay is currently Deputy Director of Independent Police Review in Portland, Oregon, while Lipari is the police monitor in Boulder. Booth serves in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office as Assistant Deputy Attorney General.

At the February 16 meeting, Walton-Macaulay stressed that the agencies overseen by the Office of the Independent Observer must “trust the work we do.”

Lipari noted that the bureau can use data to determine whether use-of-force incidents at all levels are racially disparate. And Booth talked about the importance of completing a thorough investigation on time, so the public can see the results quickly.

In addition to participating in the two virtual community meetings, the candidates are also speaking with city officials this week.

The next independent monitor will take over from Gregg Crittenden, a senior assistant monitor who has served as interim independent monitor since Nick Mitchell stepped down at the end of 2020. Mitchell had been on the job – originally created by the mayor of the era, John Hickenlooper in 2004 – since 2012. During his tenure, Mitchell investigated deaths in custody as well as larger policing issues, like the police department’s chaotic and, at times, overly harsh response from Denver to the George Floyd protests in late May and June 2020.

Mitchell has accepted a position overseeing prison reform in Los Angeles County, but he remains in Denver.

What is different this time for the selection process is that the Citizens’ Oversight Council, rather than the mayor of Denver, will choose the final nominee, with the Denver City Council then voting to approve the nomination. That’s because of a charter change put on the ballot by the council, which voters approved in November 2021. The Citizen Oversight Board, made up of nine citizens – four of whom are appointed by the mayor, four by the council and one jointly by the mayor and council – oversees the effectiveness of the Office of the Independent Comptroller and advises the city on policies related to law enforcement and public safety.

Find the link of the meeting of February 17 here.