Referred Measure 2C gives the Denver Police Department new guidelines for hiring officers from other departments.
Here’s the language you’ll see on your ballot:
Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to promote greater flexibility in the hiring of lateral recruits for classified service in the Denver Police Department?
What does that mean?
Earl Peterson of the Civil Service Commission (who supports the measure) said this proposed law would reduce the amount of time an incoming patrol officer needs to obtain a higher pay grade. Later hires — officers hired from other police departments — with two or more years of experience would be able to come in at PO2 pay, the second-highest pay grade for patrol officers, instead of PO3, the third-highest pay level. Currently, if an officer had three or more years of experience, they would be brought into a PO3 pay grade.
The new law would also allow later recruits to start being paid at the pay grade at the start of the academy, instead of being paid this rate at the end of the academy training as most new recruits do.
Who’s for it and who’s against it?
Peterson said during a City Council committee meeting this summer that the measure would help make Denver more competitive in recruiting officers from other departments and provide a more competitive pay. He said there is usually interest in cops from other departments to come to Denver, but that can be challenging economically. He added that the department doesn’t get a ton of lateral hires but it can help replace some of the losses due to retirements in the departments.
Peterson said lateral hires can help save money in training since they’re usually out of the academy months earlier than regular recruits. “So it really is a marketing, recruitment effort to engage more people into this process,” Peterson said. It won’t just open the floodgates for new later recruits though. Peterson said they will still abide by strict standards for hiring lateral recruits, who are typically from the metro area.
Det. Nick Rogers, president of the Denver police union, said the measure is a “good thing for the city.”