DENVER — A task force to “reimagine” police has come up with 112 recommendations for ways Denver can improve its public safety. A major theme throughout the recommendations is finding ways to limit police interactions with the public, thedenverchannel.com reported.
Since the most common police interaction with people comes in the form of traffic stops, they’ve come up with five recommendations that call for a fundamental shift in the way traffic stops are handled. Among the recommendations:
- Decriminalize traffic offenses often used for pretextual stops.
- Prohibit Denver Police from conducting searches in relation to petty offenses or traffic violations.
- Remove police officers from routine traffic stops and crash reporting and explore non-police alternatives that incentivize behavior change to eliminate traffic fatalities.
- Eliminate the need for traffic enforcement by auditing and investing in the built environment to promote safe travel behavior.
- Invest in a community-based, community-led violence prevention strategic plan that includes, but is not limited to, traffic stop violence and government sanctioned violence.
Moreover, the group recommended using civilians for enforcing traffic laws. Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen says the city has already taken significant steps in this direction, according to the news outlet.
“We have, I believe, 29 civilian accident report takers, which minimizes the impact here between a police officer in traffic, and those are the ones that makes sense,” Pazen said.
While the suggestions might have appeal to the uninformed, one law enforcement expert says they will undermine police work.
“These recommendations undermine a police officer’s ability to investigate crime and compromises his or her safety. They are shortsighted suggestions made by people who have no idea how police conduct business,” said one officer who wished to remain confidential. “Law abiding citizens would be hurt by these practices since they favor people involved in crime.”