Home Latest News Denver Police Use of Violence Incidents Spike 2022 Update

Denver Police Use of Violence Incidents Spike 2022 Update

From 2018 to 2021, the number of arrests made by the Denver Police Department decreased in all seven precincts, while the percentage of arrests involving violent incidents increased in six out of seven.

During the same period, the number of DPD officers with multiple violent incidents in their files also shot up. In 2018, 39 officers registered five or more violent incidents; the total in 2021 was 135.

These statistics come from the DPD’s own records, which are shared on this webpage. However, the department insists that the data should not be interpreted as evidence that officers in Denver rely on violence more often than in years past. Instead, a spokesperson says the statistics have been distorted in part by recent changes to reporting requirements related to removals and training of a weapon on a suspect.

Denver's seven precincts. - DENVERGOV.ORG

Denver’s seven precincts.

But that does not explain the decline in the number of arrests or the drastic increase in the use of violence. For example, District 1 registered 4,754 arrests in 2018 and 2,588 in 2021. In those years, the violent incidents remained about the same: 123 in 2018, compared to 122 in 2021. But because there were much fewer arrests in 2021, the number of violent incidents rose to 47.1 per 1,000 arrests, up from 25.9 per 1,000 arrests in 2018.

In other districts, violent incidents rose in rough numbers from 2018 to 2021, despite a decline in arrests. In 2018, District 3 had 63 arrests involving use of force among 4,234 arrests at a rate of 14.9 percent; in 2021, that same district documented 77 arrests involving violence among 2,317 arrests, at a rate of 33.2 percent, up from 30.3 percent in 2020.

The rise cannot be attributed to police response to George Floyd’s social justice protests that began in May 2020 and led to both reform legislation and multiple lawsuits; in most categories, the totals for 2021 were higher than those for 2020. An exception was District 6, where the majority of the demonstrations took place. The use of force was higher in 2020 than in 2021, but not by much: 49.2 per 1,000 arrests in the former, 44.2 percent in the latter. In 2018 that was 24.5 percent.

Here is the full overview of 2018-2021:

click to enlarge DENVERGOV.ORG

Stats for incidents of violence by officer, which are not broken down by district, tell a different part of the story. In 2018, the DPD calculated that 975 officers registered zero violent incidents. That number dropped to 790 in 2021. And while officers with a single incident of violence fell from 2018 (302) to 2021 (261), those with two or more on their record increased across the board, albeit with an occasional dip. from 2020 to 2021.

This image provides details. Note that the number of DPD officers was slightly higher in 2018 than in 2021.

click to enlarge DENVERGOV.ORG

When westword Inquiring about these trends, the DPD issued the following statement: “There are many different factors that can attribute an increase in reports of violence. One of those factors is changes in reporting requirements. For example, pointing a weapon at someone and removals must now be reported.” and count as incidents involving violence There are other factors that cannot be controlled and are determined by the actions of the individuals involved Officers are trained to try to de-escalate situations where no violence is used, but it is not always practical .”

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