There is a Security Department official nominated by Mayor Michael Hancock to replace Denver’s outgoing Director of Public Safety, who led a new effort to ticket people living in tents in the city and previously the Sheriff’s Department of Internal Affairs. worked in
Hancock’s nominee Armando Saldette said he would focus on rising crime, homelessness and drug overdoses as the city’s top security official. If the council approved Saldette’s nomination, he would be tasked with leading a wing of the city government that includes the city’s police, fire and sheriff departments as well as 911 emergency dispatch services.
“I recognize the enormous challenges that our agencies face every day,” he told a news conference on Wednesday. “With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and rising crime, a collaborative, conservative effort is needed to address the issues our public safety personnel are grappling with.”
“Whether you are an abolitionist or you want to be tough on crime, I invite all of you to help by sharing your thoughts and becoming a partner in our department,” he said.
Outgoing director Murphy Robinson announced last month that he would step down as the city’s executive director of public safety after being appointed in January 2020. Robinson’s predecessor, Troy Riggs, also held the position for two years before leaving.
Saldette is currently working as an assistant deputy in Robinson’s office, where he runs the department’s Street Enforcement Team, a group of citizens charged with violating municipal codes such as camping bans, trespassing and living in a closed park. Power to issue quotations.
Saldette called for “tangible change” that would help people experiencing homelessness find opportunities and resources.
“Homelessness is arguably the most visible concern facing Denver today,” he said.
Saldette also addressed the rise in certain crimes in Denver, saying that the city cannot stop a way out of the problem. He said that more social and health resources are needed to prevent crime before it occurs. He said that the police is doing everything possible.
“It’s the million dollar question, what could we have done differently,” Saldette said.
Saldate said he supports the ongoing harm reduction efforts in Denver to help those who use drugs. Saldate said that when asked whether he supported the establishment of a supervised drug use site, he could not offer an opinion where people could use drugs without fear of arrest which may interfere with overdose. He said the possibility is being discussed, but added that it is not for one person or department to decide.
According to his biography posted on the city’s website, Saldette previously worked as Denver’s performance improvement manager for the Department of Public Safety.
Some of Saldette’s previous work with the Department of Security and the Sheriff’s Office put her in contact with the city’s Citizen Oversight Board, a volunteer body dedicated to addressing community concerns about policing and incarceration in Denver.
Board chair Julia Richman said Saldette has already arrived after being nominated, something she takes as a positive sign from a man who will hold office for a short time until a new mayor is elected in Denver next year. can hold.
“We’ve always known him as a good ally and reformist,” Richman said. “We were pleased with his selection.”
It appears that Saldette already has the support of some city council members.
City Council President Stacy Gilmore said in a text message on Wednesday: “I believe that Armando is dedicated to improving how our Department of Security works to monitor equity and anti-racist attitudes. ” “Her leadership during this time will enable the community and city council to work in partnership to support what they are doing and to change policies that no longer provide for the public safety of all.”
Saldate was one of the representatives of the Department of Safety in the community-led Reimagine Policing and Public Safety Task Force. The group was formed after mass protests in Denver in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, but Robinson pulled all Security Department employees from the discussion group last year after disagreements.
Councilwoman Candi Cdibaka is already a strong opponent of Saldate’s candidacy. On Wednesday, she said she was partly responsible for Robinson’s decision to exit the task force because Saldette was feeding her boss negative information about the process. She called Saldette’s response to the city’s state of homelessness “messy and unsuccessful”.
“This is one of the worst choices the mayor has made to replace former director Robinson,” Cidbaka said in a statement. “They have broken trust with the community and our office at a time when we most need trust and a strong, collaborative relationship with the Department of Security.”
Prior to joining the Department of Public Security Administration, Saldette worked for the Denver Sheriff’s Department as an investigator and manager of the Bureau of Internal Affairs, according to a city biography.
Saldette worked as a detective in the Phoenix Police Department for 20 years before moving to Denver. He was also a deputed Federal Task Force officer with the Phoenix Division of the FBI.