Denver’s chief of police Paul Pazen said that any rumors that the city’s uniformed police officers are being dispatched from home amid the coronavirus outbreak are simply untrue.
“We have folks that are adhering to the same concepts of social distancing,” he said, “but the overwhelming majority of our police force is working on the street to keep the community safe.”
The only police department employees working from home, Pazen said, are support staff and investigators.
He said the rumors are most likely a "semantics issue" arising from the Denver Police Department’s recent announcement that police officers will begin taking reports and statements on low-level, nonviolent crimes over the phone instead of dispatching officers to gather information.
“It’s out of an abundance of caution that we are implementing this process, which will allow the department to continue providing high-quality service and thorough investigations while helping to minimize the potential spread of the virus,” Pazen said in a statement at the time of the announcement.
Law enforcement officials are encouraging the community to use its online crime reporting tool for matters involving theft, vandalism, lost property, identify theft and more.
“We're still investigating every single crime that comes in. We're following up on every single lead, on every single witness contact,” Pazen told Colorado Politics late Wednesday afternoon. “We're just doing this through a distance reporting mechanism and utilizing the same tactics that the rest of society is using.”
Over the last week, he said the police department has arrested multiple homicide suspects, taken at least seven illegal guns off the streets and responded to high-level, barricaded individual situations, which were “successfully resolved.”
To anyone who is fearful of increased crime during these times of uncertainty, Pazen says to rest assured:
“We stand ready. We’re doing high-quality police work, focusing on those high-level crimes and making sure that our officers are available for those highest-level crimes, not only today, but next week, next month and as we progress through this challenge.”