- I will support intervention programs for people involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the legal system.
- I will support programs that reduce interactions between police officers and persons experiencing a mental, emotional or chemical crisis.
- I will support options to incarceration when they will help improve the lives of everyone involved in a crime.
- I will support measures to improve the emotional well-being of victims, the convicted, law enforcement officers and anyone experiencing trauma.
Public safety ensures all members of the community can organize a social environment that provides the freedom to live and thrive with the protection and support of social, physical, mental and economic well-being. Public safety prevents, reduces, and heals harm.
I was asked in August 2020 to serve on the Task Force to Re-Imagine Policing and Public Safety. I had minimal interaction with law enforcement before then. Working on the Task Force has introduced me to many citizens and police officers calling for various levels of change.
I am in favor of reforming public safety departments. I’ve come to believe that Denver, like other cities in the country, spends too much money on punishment and not enough on prevention. We, as a city, a state and a society, have grown accustomed to calling on police to take care of annoyances. We also call on police to take care of people suffering mental and emotional health crises. That scenario is unfair to both the person in crisis and the police officers that respond. Denver city council has made a sizable investment in Support Team Assisted Response (STAR), whose staff are trained to respond to persons suffering crises. Similar investments need to be spread throughout the Department of Housing Stability and programs in the Department of Public Safety that work to reduce the conditions that bring about interactions with law enforcement. Our current system puts a strain on both police officers and the citizens they are sworn to serve.
There is a lot of discussion about personal recognizance bonds, misuse of illegal and legal drugs, supervised use of illegal drugs, diversion programs, sweeps, law enforcement training, over-policed communities, traffic stops and a long list of items addressed by the Task Force. The discussion is good. I hope the conversations bring a constructive change to what we view as a crime and what we view as a medical condition. I hope conversations bring a constructive change to how we use incarceration and restorative justice.