DGO Police Support Peaceful Protests

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When Durango-area residents take to the streets to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Durango Police Department will be unobtrusively present.

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6/9/20 Police RespondsAS SOUTHWEST COLORADO RESIDENTS PROTEST THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD UNDER THE KNEE OF A MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER LAST MONTH, DURANGO POLICE WILL BE UNOBTRUSIVELY PRESENT, WEARING THEIR REGULAR UNIFORMS. AND THAT'S INTENTIONAL. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE GOAL ACADEMY. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. IMAGES OF POLICE WEARING RIOT GEAR AND CARRYING MILITARY WEAPONS TO FACE DOWN ANGRY PROTESTERS FILL THE NEWS SHOWS IN THE WAKE OF GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH ON MAY 25TH. BUT IN DURANGO, RESIDENTS HAVE PEACEFULLY MARCHED TO PROTEST RACIAL INJUSTICE AND POLICE BRUTALITY IN THE COUNTRY WHILE MEMBERS OF THE DURANGO POLICE FORCE QUIETLY STAND WATCH. THEY  WEAR THEIR REGULAR UNIFORMS, NOT RIOT GEAR, AND CARRY THEIR REGULAR EQUIPMENT, NOT MILITARY WEAPONS. DURANGO POLICE CHIEF BOB BRAMMER SAID DURANGO'S APPROACH TO OVERSEEING PROTESTS HAS BEEN PURPOSELY INCONSPICUOUS, BOTH IN AN EFFORT TO KEEP EVENTS PEACEFUL AND IN RESPECT OF PROTESTERS' FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.
WE TRY TO DO THAT AS LOW PROFILE AS WE POSSIBLY CAN. THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T SEE US OUT THERE IN FULL-BLOWN RIOT GEAR. NOW, WE DO HAVE EQUIPMENT AND THAT'S TO SAFEGUARD OUR OFFICERS IF, IF THE SITUATION WARRANTS IT. AND IF IT'S, IF IT'S IN A BAD SITUATION AND, AND TYPICALLY THOSE ARE GONNA BE SITUATIONS WHERE, LIFE AND PROPERTY ARE COMING INTO JEOPARDY, BUT WE TRY TO GO AS LOW KEY AS WE POSSIBLY CAN, JUST IN OUR UNIFORMS, AS WE ARE EVERY OTHER DAY. AND, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE WE DO NOT WANT TO ESCALATE ANYTHING INTO SOMETHING THAT WAS INTENTIONAL OR NOT. THAT'S NOT OUR APPROACH. WE RESPOND, AND FROM THAT RESPONSE, THEN WE, YOU KNOW, TRY TO GAIN CONTROL. AND THEN WE QUICKLY TRY TO DE-ESCALATE ANY, ANY, ANY OTHER TYPE OF RESPONSES THAT WE HAVE. BRAMMER SAYS POLICE DERIVE THEIR LAW-ENFORCEMENT POWERS FROM THE RESIDENTS THEY SERVE, AND A POLICE FORCE SHOULD REFLECT THE VALUES OF THE COMMUNITY. AS AN EXAMPLE, THE DEPARTMENT RECENTLY CHANGED ITS MOTTO ON PATROL VEHICLES TO THE PHRASE TO PROTECT, SERVE AND CARE. AND, HE ADDED, THAT TO BECOME A POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT REFLECTS COMMUNITY VALUES STARTS WITH OFFICER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION.
WE'RE LOOKING AT PEOPLE OF EXTREME HIGH, MORAL CHARACTER, HIGH INTEGRITY, GOOD JUDGMENT. YOU KNOW, WE'RE LOOKING FOR, YOU KNOW, THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT EMBODY, YOU KNOW, WHAT OUR COMMUNITY IS IN THE VALUES THAT WE HAVE WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY. YOU KNOW, AS I MENTIONED LAST NIGHT IN CITY COUNCIL, OUR POWERS ARE DERIVED FROM THE PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE ALLOW US TO POLICE THEM, HOW THEY WANT TO BE POLICED AND THEY PROVIDE US THE POWERS. SO WITH THAT, WE HAVE TO TRY TO MODEL WHAT THAT DEMOGRAPHIC IS, IN, IN THE ABILITIES FOR PEOPLE TO, TO, TO THINK, AND TO REACT IN AN APPROPRIATE MANNER THAT UPHOLDS THOSE, THOSE, THOSE VALUES WE'VE HAD FOR NEARLY 140 YEARS HERE IN THE CITY ITSELF IN THE WAKE OF NATIONWIDE  PROTESTS OVER THE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE ON PEOPLE OF COLOR, BOTH THE COLORADO LEGISLATURE AND CONGRESS HAVE PROPOSED LAWS THAT WOULD REQUIRE MORE TRAINING, OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR POLICE BEHAVIOR. BRAMMER SAID THAT IN DURANGO, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS ACTIVELY INVOLVED WITH THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMISSION THAT WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE DURANGO CITY COUNCIL IN 2012 TO REDUCE DISCRIMINATION AND TO PROMOTE AWARENESS AND ACCEPTANCE OF DIVERSITY IN THE COMMUNITY. IN ADDITION, DURANGO POLICE HAVE BEEN WEARING BODY CAMERAS FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS AND MORE RECENTLY, OFFICERS PARTICIPATED IN TRAININGS ON WORKING WITHIN A CULTURALLY DIVERSE COMMUNITY.
WE'VE ASSIGNED ADDITIONAL TRAININGS THAT REVOLVED AROUND DIVERSITY, DE-ESCALATION OF FORCE, LESS LETHAL FORCE OPTIONS AND CULTURAL AWARENESS, OVER THAT TIME PERIOD. AND WE ASSIGNED THOSE ASSIGNMENTS OUT AND OUR OFFICERS TRAINED ON THAT. SO, DURING THE LAST TWO MONTHS, WE HAVE TRIPLED THE AMOUNT OF TRAINING THAT THE STATE REQUIRES OVER A FIVE-YEAR PERIOD IN A TWO-MONTH PERIOD.
BRAMMER SAYS HE HOPES DURANGO-AREA RESIDENTS WILL CONTINUE TO EXERCISE THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS TO PEACEFULLY PROTEST RACIAL INJUSTICE. HIS OFFICERS, HE SAID, ARE ANGRY, TOO. IT IS A TRAVESTY. YEAH, IT WAS A HORRIBLE EVENT TO SEE PLAYED OUT TIME AND TIME AGAIN ON THE NEWS AND BY THE MEDIA. AND WE ALL SUFFER FROM THAT. WE SUFFER FROM IT AS JUST BEING HUMAN AND POLICE OFFICERS ARE HUMAN AS WELL. AND WE SEE THAT AND WE SEE IT AS A FAILURE OF OUR PROFESSION ON SOME LEVEL, ON SOME SCALE, BECAUSE YOU, ONE BAD ACT FROM ONE PERSON REFLECTS NEGATIVELY AGAINST THE REST OF US. AND THE REST OF US HAVE SWORN AN OATH TO PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION, TO PROTECT OUR PEOPLE AND TO PROTECT EACH OTHER AND SEEING SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS, IT HURTS.TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DURANGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, VISIT ITS FACEBOOK PAGE AT DURANGO POLICE. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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