The Police Family

celena-hollis2

Last year, on June 24, at 8:07 PM, Officer Celena Hollis was working at the city’s Jazz in the Park event.  Most of you know the story.  Celena, and several other officers, answered a call about a disturbance in the parking lot near where the jazz concerts are held.  As she approached a large group of people involved in the disturbance, she was fatally shot.

Other Denver Police Officers were able to immediately locate and arrest Rollen Oliver, who recently pled guilty to the murder.

Celena left a close-knit loving family, including her then twelve-year-old daughter, Amyre, behind.

This week, there will be numerous events to remember Celena and the sacrifice she and her family made.  On Thursday, the Daniel’s Fund will dedicate a memorial garden in honor of Celena.  Sunday, at Jazz in the Park, there will be a community tribute and then a private ceremony at the District 2 station where Celena was assigned. 

chief white at celena's funeral

The most difficult aspect of my forty years in law enforcement has been the loss of fellow officers.  It is heart-wrenching and senseless; there is an emptiness that does not go away.

But I have also learned that the loss of an officer is not just felt inside the police department.  In fact, no matter how much we pride ourselves on being a “family” within the police department, we lose out when we don’t recognize that there is a greater extended family in our community.

Last year, after Celena died, there was an incredible outpouring of support.  Individuals, businesses, and organizations donated to help the Hollis family.  One company installed an air-conditioner at the family’s home due to the heat from the large gathering of supporters at their home.  And then there were the emails, and cards, and messages left – perhaps as valuable as any gift.  Officers learned that their grief was shared and that they were respected and appreciated by the community they protected. 

I often say that the pforsaleolice are the community and that the community are the police.  We are one.  I hope that you take a minute to remember Celena and the Hollis family this week.  And if you see an officer in your travels, just take a moment to say ‘thanks’.  I promise you that it matters.

 

Chief White

Posted in From the Chief | 3 Comments

TORNADO at DIA

Yesterday, a tornado touched down at DIA near the police K-9 facility and a funnel cloud was subsequently observed over the east side of the terminal. Denver Police Officers from Detail Two, Detail Three, Curb, Traffic, and CRO sprang into action with other airport employees and did a tremendous job in safely guiding thousands of passengers into designated shelters. Cars, buses, taxis and shuttles were abandoned in place on the ramps and roadways approaching the terminal and in-bound Pena Boulevard was closed at I-70.

We want to acknowledge and thank every officer involved in this event for their professionalism and bravery. Many officers rushed outside to aid frightened passengers and motorists get to safety, ignoring the audible alarms and announcements to shelter immediately.

Calm demeanor and teamwork was highly visible and helped to reassure the travelling public. We are fortunate that there were no injuries or property damage. After the alert was cancelled, officers continued to contribute to the rapid restoration of normal operations and overall successful event management.

The attached a photo was taken by an unknown person during the event.

Well done!

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Hello Denver!

I have been the Chief of the Denver Police Department for the past year and a half.  That time has been marked by rapid change designed to create a police department focused on crime prevention and community policing. While I am pleased with the progress we’ve made to date, there are more changes to come.

However, one thing will not change.  Every decision I make will be weighed against what is in the best interest of the community and the department, and equally important – what is the right thing to do.  I will also remain focused on crime prevention and training police employees to treat everyone with respect.

As I consider how important the relationship between police and the community is, I realize I want to increase my communication with you – the people of Denver.  I routinely attend community meetings, public events, speak with the media, and interact with many community members on the street.  But in reality, there are a great many of you I have not had the chance to meet or interact with.  I intend to change that.

To that end, one of the Police Department’s focus’ is communications.  My staff and I will seek every opportunity to increase communications – and not just from us to you, but from you to us.  We want to know your thoughts about how we are doing, where can we improve, and how we can better serve you?

To begin the conversation, I will post a weekly blog on this site about what we are doing in the Police Department and why.  I will share the good work the department is doing and provide up-to-date information on changes in the department.

I sincerely hope you will join the discussion!  The best way to do this is by responding to this post or through one of our social media platforms (Facebook.com/denverpolice; Twitter.com/denverpolice; Pinterest.com/denverpolice; or Youtube.com/denverpolice).

I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your Chief of Police and look forward to working more closely with you.

Robert C. White

Chief of Police

Chief White in the Community

Posted in From the Chief | 2 Comments