Out in the city of Denver, Colorado, the City Council recently moved ahead with a vote on an unusual proposition. Councilwoman Candi Cedebaca had drafted a proposal to replace the Denver Police Department with a “Peace Force,” comprised of “Peace Officers.” The vast majority of those officers would go about their duties unarmed and act more as a mobile counseling service than anything else. A few trained and armed officers would be kept on hand in case of an emergency.
There were some objections raised to the proposal initially, but the decision was made to proceed to the vote. In what may prove to be a temporary close call for the citizens of Denver, the proposal failed spectacularly. Only Councilwoman Cedebaca voted in favor of it. (CBS Denver)
Denver City Council voted to suspend a proposal thaCandi Cedebacat aims to to replace the Denver Police Department with a “peace force.” The 11-1 nay vote came during the council’s Monday night meeting.
The vote put the proposal on hold along with two other bills that would have limited power in other city offices.
Only the bill’s sponsor Councilwoman Candi Cedebaca voted in favor of the proposal to replace the police, had it passed it would have been once step closer to becoming a ballot measure this November.
The reason I suggest that this might be temporary is that it sounds like the Council is divided in their opinions on the idea of a Peace Force, with some of the members who voted against it not 100% in opposition. Multiple members of the Council stated that the reason they were voting “no” was because they felt the measure was being rushed and they needed more time to develop a “thoughtful proposal.” Council President Stacie Gilmore was a bit vaguer, saying she always wants to give her constituents plenty of time to consider and comment on any new measure.
Conversely, the Mayor was firmly against the plan. Michael Hancock described the plan as being “reckless and irresponsible.” He went on to say that it would never be enacted while he was the Mayor.
It’s far worse than just reckless. This idea is insane for a city the size of Denver. The same rules apply here as the ones we discussed when Los Angeles and other cities proposed having unarmed civilian officials doing traffic stops. That’s all fine and dandy until you run into an armed maniac that just stole a car. But Denver’s proposal goes much further. We’re not just talking about traffic enforcement. The change here would apply to the majority of cops out on the beat. They would be unarmed and unable to fully respond on a moment’s notice if violence breaks out. How long would it take for one of the few armed officers to arrive on the scene? By that time the first “peace officer” might well be dead, along with any innocent victims caught up in the original incident.
What Councilwoman Cedebaca is suggesting is a system vaguely similar to what the Brits have in London. Most of their officers, while trained, are unarmed while on duty. When violent crime takes place, they too have to call in backup with firearms. But the difference is that almost no British citizens have firearms to use in the commission of a crime, so they’re more likely to run into knives or blunt objects at the worst. The same can’t be said for Denver, sadly. Just for the record, so far this year the Mile High City has recorded 65 murders, 720 rapes and more than 3,200 assaults. But hey… who needs cops?