‘Felt An Urge To Be That Change’: Black Denver…
DENVER (CBS4) – In an effort to spark change within the profession of law enforcement, specifically within the City of Denver, the Denver Police Department is launching a new mantra for their 2021 recruiting process. “Be the Change You Want To See” is now prominently featured on most patrol vehicles in Denver.
The new slogan for the recruiting process comes after a year of national calls for police reform, calls which Denver Police were not exempt from. While some called for police agencies to be defunded, others simply called for more representation within the profession from those in marginalized communities.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said those calls for greater inclusivity were heard clearly by DPD, and his agency wanted to take swift action.
“We want to be more inclusive moving forward,” Pazen told CBS4’s, Dillon Thomas.
Pazen has ordered marked patrol vehicles to also carry a bumper sticker which recruits candidates to “Be The Change You Want To See.” The stickers are intended to encourage current officers to continuously improve themselves while also reaching out to underrepresented communities to join the department.
Pazen said one of the best ways to make sure ideas from many diverse backgrounds and communities are heard is to hire them on to the staff.
“We do have folks who saw what occurred in our community in late May and early June and want to be a part of a positive change,” Pazen said. “We are listening to our community. And, our community in many ways is asking for change. If we are talking about meaningful change, often times that comes from within.”
CBS4 recently spoke with a young Black man who wanted to take DPD up on their challenge. Tyler Moffat, an aspiring officer, said he watched what happened during the summer of 2020 and felt the best way to improve LEO relations with the Black community was to join the force.
Denver Police hoped the new recruiting slogan would not only attract members of the Black community, but also those of other diverse backgrounds. Pazen said he wanted to increase hiring among women, different races, and even unique faiths.
Officer Nathaniel MaGee told CBS4 he joined DPD to spark change. As a Black officer, MaGee said he tries to make sure those in the African American community see that they have representation within the department, and that they could be the representation themselves one day.
“The message is important, the words are important. Obviously it needs to be followed up with action,” MaGee said. “I felt an urge to be that change.”
MaGee said he knew a bumper sticker wouldn’t be enough to change the public’s perception of the profession completely. But, he said the department’s desire to seek out qualified individuals from many backgrounds would make the community a better and safer place for all.
“There’s no better way,” MaGee said. “They want to do what that sticker says, and be that change.”
“This is a message to individuals who want to effect positive change in the criminal justice system,” Pazen said. “We’re confident all of those different approaches are going to reduce tragedies and save lives.”