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Denver Civil Service Commission leader alleges mayor is putting campaign promises above procedure

Niecy Murray, says over a span of months, the minimum score that police and fire recruits must meet continues to drop
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Posted at 8:57 AM, May 28, 2024

DENVER — The executive director of the Denver Civil Service Commission, Niecy Murray, is alleging city leadership is putting Mayor Mike Johnston's campaign promises above established procedures.

Murray said, she was asked to ignore red flags in applicant profiles. Leadership told her, issues can be fixed in police and fire training academies.

“The Mayor has made it clear that he will not back off of the staffing numbers he set in his campaign,” Murray said. “Simultaneously, academy staff have shared increasing frustration with the quality of recruits that show up for duty. If you show up with a pulse, you’re in there.”

Murray said, over a span of months, the minimum score that police and fire recruits must meet was lowered.

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In 2019, she said the minimum score for Denver's entry-level police officers was 70. In 2020, it dropped to 67.14. Now, city leaders want it dropped to 60, according to Murray.

“This is not the time to decrease our standards for who holds our community members’ lives in their hands,” Councilwoman At-Large Serena Gonzalez-Gutierrez said. “Denver has demanded that only the best fill these roles and we should not sacrifice the needs nor safety of our communities, and those who serve them, simply to meet an arbitrary quota.”

Denver leader alleges mayor putting campaign promises above procedure

“At a time when our city is being asked to restore trust in our police, that faith is being built on a clear expectation from the public that our first responders will hold themselves to a certain standard, one which makes everyone feel more safe about who will be answering a call for help,” Councilwoman Shontel Lewis added.

A press conference is planned for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the City and County of Denver building. Several council members and Murray are expected to speak.