Saturday, September 06, 2008

Denver's Mayor Hickenlooper Praises Police, Public Works on Protecting Public During Convention

Denver's Mayor Hickenlooper

According to the Denver Post (9-5-08):

Sonny Jackson, a spokesman for the Denver Police Department, said more than 150 people had been arrested during the convention, but he was unsure whether any of those had been arrested in connection with the items that were seized.

"Basically, through good police work and officers scouring the area, we found this stuff," Jackson said.

Here is a Thursday, September 4, 2008 press release from the Denver government:

Caches of Potentially Harmful & Disruptive Materials Seized throughout the Week

September 4, 2008 - Denver Police and Public Works officials today shared details of a large-scale planning and preparedness collaboration that officials believe prevented significant disruption and safety challenges during last week’s Democratic National Convention.

Police Chief Gerald Whitman and Public Works Director Bill Vidal described numerous caches of materials that were confiscated before they could be used as weapons or to create obstructions or disruptions in downtown Denver. Some of the items were intentionally stored to be used in unlawful ways; other caches of debris may not have been intentionally stashed but were readily available to be picked up and used as projectiles or used in other harmful ways. [see list]

“Our police and Public Works crews engineered an extraordinary behind-the-scenes collaboration preceding and during the Democratic National Convention which thwarted plans of those intent on disrupting our city,” Mayor Hickenlooper said. “We are extremely proud of these two agencies for their intelligent planning and performance.”

National political conventions are designated by the federal government as National Special Security Events (NSSE) precisely because they have the potential to attract individuals intent on creating havoc and causing damage to people and property. Other NSSEs include the Super Bowl, Presidential inaugurations and funerals and Olympics.

“There is a broad spectrum of things that could happen during a major event such as this, from minor emergencies to a major disaster,” noted Chief Whitman. “We don’t have a crystal ball, so we must plan for all of these things and then do our best to manage whatever ends up happening. While the vast majority of demonstrators are peaceful and law-abiding and simply want their views to be heard, we knew from the experiences of other cities that there is typically a fringe element with these events that poses significant risks to public safety and property.

”Based on a review of training manuals posted online by some protest groups, Denver Police and Public Works officials knew to anticipate the possibility of stockpiles of bricks, sticks, PVC pipes, chains, rocks, hardware, human waste and other materials that have been used in past events of this magnitude to create obstructions to law enforcement, cause traffic or transit disruptions, and cause harm to people and property.

Public Works responded to 54 specific locations around the City where various materials were stored. As has been the case elsewhere, many of the stockpiles were marked with identifying graffiti. The goal was to remove objects – intentionally compiled or simply discarded – that could clearly be used in harmful ways, including as projectiles and batons. Many of the materials confiscated are detailed in the chart below.

In addition, police discovered and rendered safe a number of suspicious packages placed throughout the City last week.

Both Whitman and Vidal praised their teams for the collaboration and hard work that helped ensure order during the Convention.

“Public Works is proud to have played a role in protecting public safety during the Convention,” Vidal said. “Our collaboration with Denver Police was extremely successful and it’s rewarding to know that together we prevented actions that could have seriously harmed people and property.”

“We cannot praise our combined police force, our planning teams and our partners at Public Works enough for the work they did to make this Convention successful,” Whitman said. “We are very pleased at the outcome of our efforts.”


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