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Denver gives CSP troopers authority to enforce certain ordinances near Capitol, governor's mansion

Denver gives CSP troopers authority to enforce certain ordinances near Capitol, governor's mansion
Posted at 12:50 PM, Jul 25, 2020

DENVER – The city of Denver’s executive director of safety has granted Colorado State Patrol a three-month pilot authority to enforce certain Denver city ordinances on state land, including the parks and property surrounding the state Capitol and governor’s mansion.

The delegation from Denver Executive Director of Safety Murphy Robinson allows CSP troopers to be individually commissioned to enforce the ordinances once they have completed training with the Denver Department of Public Safety and Denver District Attorney’s Office and to perform duties within the provision of the Law Enforcement integrity Act.

Troopers will also have to “coordinate significant or planned enforcement decisions and actions” with the Denver Department of Safety before they can take any actions.

Troopers will be able to issue citations on the property surround the Capitol – including the nearby parks, Veteran’s/Lincoln Park, the nearby sidewalks, parking lots and streets. They will also be able to issue citations at the governor’s mansion, Governor’s Park behind the mansion, and the adjacent sidewalks and streets.

The ordinances that troopers will be able to cite people for include trespassing, disturbing the peace, assault, public fighting, public urination or defecation, petty theft, destruction of public or private property, obstruction of streets, possession of prohibited graffiti materials, possession of dangerous or deadly weapons, possession of certain unlawful knives, using incendiary devices, throwing stones, possession of assault weapons, park curfews, destruction off park property, or damaging trees.

The authority is in effect and will continue as a pilot program through Oct. 22, 2020 unless it is extended or rescinded by Robinson, who is also able to revoke troopers’ commissions “if he/she feels that the revocation serves the best interests of the City and County of Denver or the general public.”

CSP troopers already may arrest people throughout the state but often have to work with the local law enforcement agencies. Troopers also provide security at the Capitol and for the governor and his family.

CSP Master Trooper Gary Cutler said the move by Denver would streamline operations for CSP as well as DPD. He said that the delegation had been “in various stages for a while” and was not “done overnight.”

“Everyone kind of had to look at it and see what the best way to move forward was,” Cutler said Friday.

He said that most of the troopers who would be commissioned under the delegation already work security detail at the Capitol.

“This just gives us a couple of steps we can take when we need to so we don’t have to have Denver involved as much on certain things,” Cutler said.

The delegation from Denver comes as the state already faces a minimum $1 million cleanup at the Capitol and some other nearby state buildings, which have been tagged repeatedly over the past month and a half. Gov. Jared Polis has faced pressure to keep the Capitol from being vandalized, and now, some conservatives are calling for federal troops to be brought to Denver.

The Civic Center and Lincoln Park area has also seen homeless camps grow in recent months, and a shooting there Thursday killed one and wounded two others.

Polis at a Thursday news conference said he believed those responsible for vandalism and violence “should be charged.” He said at the time that the state was talking with CSP and the Denver District Attorney’s Office about how troopers could get enforcement authority in Denver.

“We really need the extra ability to prevent damage to our – it’s not just a building. It’s a big part of our Republic. It’s who we are. It’s our state Capitol. It’s symbolic, important. And frankly, when it’s desecrated, we are desecrated and democracy is desecrated,” Polis said.

He said he wanted Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver City Council “to act” and said he didn’t believe Denver’s camping ban was being enforced.

But he said that the vandalism and violence, and issues with people experiencing homelessness in Denver, were “very different” issues.

“I don’t want to conflate those,” Polis said.

The city is still working on its first sanctioned camp site for people experiencing homelessness.

The encampment at the governor's mansion had been cleared out as of Friday morning. Cutler said CSP was not involved. A Denver Department of Public Health and Environment spokesperson said the people there left voluntarily.

“We’re aware that the encampment that had been near the Governor’s Mansion is no longer there due to the individuals there leaving on their own. No action or effort to move them was taken,” DDPHE Deputy Executive Director Ann Cecchine-Williams said.