Police Group Paid For Crime Consultants In Denver

If everything goes as planned, Denver will start a new policing strategy in the next month, aimed at reducing crime in the city’s famed Capitol Hill neighborhood.

COMPANION STORY: Arrests Rising in Denver.“We’ve been meeting for the last several months doing analysis on what the nature of the problems are in the Capitol Hill area,” said Jeremy Bronson, Special Assistant to the Mayor for Public Safety. “We’re just at the point now where we’re starting to put together some strategies for what different players around the table can do to have an impact on issues in that area.”

The project is the result of a six month consultation between the city and crime specialists, who were paid not by tax dollars, but through a non-profit corporation called the Denver Police Foundation (DPF).

What was not reported in the mainstream media however, was that the Police Foundation is headed by members of the force-meaning those with the group that paid for the new strategy could also be participating in it.

A contract (TIF File) obtained from the Auditor’s Office (see right) elaborates on the agreement between the city and the Hanover Justice Group, a New Hampshire based company that preformed the consulting work. In the papers it is revealed that the city hired three men from the Group as independent contractors from December 1, 2005 to May 31st of this year, and that payments up to $100,000 would be taken care of by the Foundation.

According to the latest IRS records (PDF) from 2004, Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman was listed as the Chairman for the DPF, and has been listed as such in the 2002 (PDF) and 2003 (PDF) reports. Other officers notated on the 2004 form include Deputy Chief Marco Vasquez, and Detectives Edward Leger and Robert Freund.

Secretary of State files from 2005 also show that the registered agent for the DPF is the Commander of the Police Department’s Public Information Office, Ronald Saunier. The address given is 1331 Cherokee St, where police headquarters is located.

“Lots of cities have police foundations and Denver is no exception…” said Bronson when asked about the contract. “The dollars are used to help invest in either technology, or equipment, or other types of initiatives that help advance the capabilities of the department, in a way that the regular process can’t support.”

The job of the crime consultants, according to the contract, was to review the Denver Police Department and determine changes to be made not only to the police, but also the way they fight crime.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.