I am Matt Murray, Chief of Staff for the Denver Police Department. I am a 25 year vertern of the Denver Police Department. My career has encompased patrol, investigations, public relations, and administrative duties.

I'm happy to answer any [Serious], respectful questions you have concerning law enforcement, investigations, criminal procedure, and policy (especially here in Denver).

Proof: www.twitter.com/DenverPolice (I'll be announcing the AMA on Twitter shortly)

I'll be answering questions for 1 hour (from 6pm - 7pm, MST)

EDIT Good night all. Thanks for the questions. We will do this again if you think it was worth it.

Comments: 469 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

fancyfilibuster81 karma

How has police work in Colorado changed since the recent cannabis legislation? Did you support or oppose the change before it happened, and has your opinion changed since then?

DenverPolice27 karma

It has gotten more complicated. There is a great deal of confusion by the public. The only real change is that it is legal to possess marijuana. Currently, it is still ILLEGAL to: 1. Publically consume marijuana 2. Possess marijuana concentrate 3. Buy or sell marijuana

Too many marijuana users believe everything to do with marijuana is legal.

openyourmind7743 karma

What is your opinion on requiring police officers to wear video cameras at all times? I feel like police officers shouldn't be opposed to this if they aren't doing anything illegal.

DenverPolice65 karma

I personally support the concept. But what if they are interviewing a rape suspect or using the bathroom. Reasonable is an oft used word in the law. it works both ways.

openyourmind7721 karma

Of course there would be some exceptions, like for the bathroom of course. I'm not familiar with the interviewing process or why it wouldn't be good to record an interview with a rape suspect... But either way, it's mostly just for police brutality. It would stop it from going on, and have proof against false accusations. It would be better for the person who is doing the right thing.

DenverPolice28 karma

My turn to ask you then - should an officer be able to tun the recording on and off? It requires an element of trust on the part of the public - so some will immediately claim cover-up if they do. But what about REASONABLENESS?

Also, the cost of storing ten hours of video for every officer on every shift goes into the millions per year.

Are there better solutions?

We are seriously looking at this option and have a Commander heading to a conference in September to assess.

openyourmind7720 karma

I feel like while they're driving, using the bathroom, or not in a situation where things could get bad they could have the option to turn it off. But I feel like it should be required when they get called somewhere, are out patrolling, etc.

Regarding the hours stored... yes, that would add up quickly. But no one would look through it unless there was a complaint. So they could just have a six month supply of stored videos and after that override the video, because i think a person would have made a complaint by then.

But I think it's a good idea overall. It influences cops to go by the book and not try to get away with anything, then also, it would be evidence against false reports from citizens of police brutality. Because i'm sure that does happen quite a bit. It's just going to help keep everyone honest.

Thanks for answering though!

DenverPolice14 karma

We have the same thoughts. But, many people think they have the answer (like video recording) and then doesn't realize there are other issues. I just gave you two. The simple problems have been fixed - we all need to work together on these tough ones...

By the way, most department's who use video find that it proves the officers were right in their actions a vast majority of the time. Believe it or not, some people make up false complaints. The video shows the truth about both sides.

OldMiner2 karma

Good guy police officer.

Gets troll question trying to invert the classical "you should have nothing to hide" argument.

Responds kindly and in earnest.

DenverPolice19 karma

Thanks. Manager of Safety Martinez and Chief of Police White are MAJOR TRANSPARENCY advocates. This is an expectation of theirs.

triplejdude35 karma

Hey Matt...thanks for doing the AMA. Welcome to r/Denver!

I did a couple of reports about bike thefts in Denver recently.

We even outfitted a bike with a GPS unit and tracked a couple of thefts (not sure if you saw the report).

I learned at least two college campus police departments in Colorado are now using bait bikes.

Other city police departments use them, like in Sacramento (I believe).

I'm wondering if DPD is considering getting a bait bike to try and curb the bike theft problem we're having.

Thanks for answering my question.


DenverPolice34 karma

Hey Jeremy. Loved your TWITTER answers on plagiarism.

Bike thefts are a problem. Did see the report. We want to do more with many areas of enforcement, right now need to get staffing levels up.

triplejdude15 karma

Thanks for answering!

DenverPolice22 karma

Glad to be here. Appreciate the respectful dialogue!

aeranvar35 karma

This is a great idea! I'm glad to see police reaching out to the internet community.

As a police officer, do you ever worry about the militarization of police forces and the use of SWAT teams to arrest non-violent offenders? Many members of the public appreciate that police work is a dangerous activity and recognize the need for officers to protect themselves, but worry that SWAT teams are being used too frequently.

DenverPolice15 karma

Out SWAT team is very busy executing high risk warrants. They don't spend much time with "non-violent" offenders. But they are police officers, and we expect them to help enforce the law like all officers.

aeranvar15 karma

Sorry, let me clarify. I wasn't just speaking about DPD's SWAT team. I don't know that much about crime in Denver and the extent to which it requires SWAT activities. Rather, I was asking about your opinion on this practice nation-wide, given your expertise.

So, let me rephrase this question: Given your expertise, would you be concerned if you found out other police departments across the country were using their SWAT teams in cases that were not high-risk?

I don't want anyone to think I'm bashing here. I have all the respect in the world for police officers and SWAT team members given the very dangerous work they engage in. However, it's my understanding (which may be wrong) that SWAT-team use is on the rise while violent crime is on the decline. There are also some crimes, such as hacking, that seem difficult to justify a SWAT raid for.

DenverPolice19 karma

You might think this is politically correct - but check out the other responses. It is for the community to decide. Chief White continually beats the drum that our job is to prevent crime in the way we are requested to do so by our community. We are the community and the community are the police.

klaxar30 karma

Living in Denver, I feel that it's a pretty safe and well patrolled city. What's the biggest challenge to law enforcement in the mile high city these days? Are there parts of town in which you wish the crime rate were lower?

Also, I enjoyed that dialogue regarding plagiarism you started on twitter.

DenverPolice37 karma

Violent crime is down 14% and calls for police service are down 13% in 2013. That is the good news. The challenge is that we have 100 fewer officers than 2012 so we are stretched thin. This is causing slower response times when people call us for non emergency issues.

Glad you liked our plagiarism question. Sure seemed to make some in the media uncomfortable?

OldMiner30 karma

There has been a fair amount of notice, both negative and positive, of the increased amount of cycling in Denver in the last few years. Several times in the past year, folks have posted in /r/Denver that DPD had a car watching an intersection that was ticketing cyclists for failing to yield for stop signs.

Is there a general aim towards increasing enforcement of traffic violation by cyclists? Are offenses such as travelling at night without lights or going the wrong way in a bike lane (two of my pet peeves, as a cyclist myself) planned to receive increased enforcement as well?

Are there separate enforcement guidelines for the downtown pedicabs?

DenverPolice37 karma

All bikes (including pedis) are required to obey the same laws as motorists. We do think there will have to be increased enforcement of bikes, pedestrians, and cars to reduce accidents. However, if everyone would LOOK IN THE MIRROR and change their own bad behavior - we wouldn't have to!

Frajer24 karma

Has James Holmes changed the criminal climate in Colorado?

DenverPolice21 karma

I think that James Holmes, the Boston bombings, Sandy Hook, Columbine etc have changed the way Americans look at safety. Unfortunately, this trend seems to be getting worse - not better.

doubtme21 karma


DenverPolice52 karma

Taggers would quit destroying other people's property if no one saw it. You make a great point

AbdicatedAnger23 karma

First and foremost, thank you for serving on the force.

1) Having been with the Denver PD through several infamous days, including Columbine and the Aurora Theater shootings. How have you been involved in these (if at all)?

2) How often do you see corruption in your department?

3) Someone asked about computer crime, and I was wondering how one would become involved in this department?

DenverPolice30 karma

  1. I was a homicide detective and assisted with the Columbine High School case. I did crime scene drawings and also documented five autopsy's the following day.
  2. There is corruption in all walks of life. Although we have issues, corruption in the Denver Police Department is small compared to other major cities. We want to get to a place where there is none.
  3. Don't know. But there is a huge need for HONEST computer specialists...

jonbig0420 karma

On a less serious note, how is everyone liking the new police cruisers?! They look pretty badass.

DenverPolice20 karma

Liking them so far! The crossover fits better (because of all our gear)


Throwtheeaway920 karma

In regards to cannabis law enforcement: How will Denver PD handle citizens from states besides Colorado who are caught with more than the legal limit?

DenverPolice43 karma

Enforce the law.

fc_w00t17 karma

Mr. Murray, first, thank you and your department for your service. With that said, how accurately do you feel that your type of position is portrayed on TV in movies and dramas? "Law and Order" and "Continuum" would be some examples I could cite...

Thank you.

DenverPolice50 karma

There are not many realistic police shows. I was very impressed by "Seven" (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt). Although, the homicide detectives don't chase the bad guys.

Also, a great series is THE WIRE on HBO.

TheBobHatter16 karma

I've been told that the reason most Cop Organizations don't support cannabis legalization is because it takes away a tool for cops to search someone's car via reasonable suspicion. What are your thoughts/counter to this?

DenverPolice47 karma

Nah...We didn't take a stand on the issue. It is the people's right to decide. Our job is to enforce the laws as respectfully as possible, that the representative government creates.

agavnim16 karma

Can you please do something about jaywalking on Colfax? Every day I see people casually walking in the middle of the road causing traffic and endangering lives. It's very frustrating. The problem is especially bad at nighttime, I'm terrified ill hit someone.

DenverPolice31 karma

We are. We are working on a public relations campaign (Heads up). Here are some videos we produced.

http://youtu.be/GdhPT4pH2gU http://youtu.be/WXrZx88-Qy4

I stop people at Colfax and Broadway EVERY DAY. It will require a culture change - not a slew of tickets.

jacelarson15 karma

If I'm having an emergency at my house... in district 2... or other districts... how quickly do officers arrive on average? So much has been talked about and reported on regarding non-emergency (but still important calls.) I'd like to know how soon you'll be here if someone is breaking in my house. Do you arrive with lights and sirens? What constitutes on emergency call?

DenverPolice16 karma

I wish I could give you a list (there is one but is many pages long). We are arriving on serious emergency calls between 6:30 min - 7:11 min. The Chief would like that average much closer to 6:00.

ProjectGO15 karma

What are the issues that the DPD is most interested in right now?

What is going well?

What could be going better?

DenverPolice21 karma

Chief White is interested in fulfilling our new mission statement: To operate a police agency with a focus on preventing crime in a respectful manner, demonstrating that everyone matters.

Crime is down, response times are up. The community seems to like the new direction...

MrMoustachio15 karma

If I was filming you doing your job in public, what would your response be?

DenverPolice30 karma

"Hi, I'm Matt, what's your name?"

MrMoustachio20 karma


DenverPolice39 karma


CunthSlayer15 karma

Thank you for doing this. As a Colorado citizen I love to see you answering every question, even the tough ones.

My brother a few months ago was leaving a bar in Denver when a fight was going on outside the bar. When walking closer to see what was going on, someone behind him told him to get out of the way, he said something along the lines of "I'm not doing anything wrong" while turning out, only to realize it was a cop and was arrested. He was held overnight for interfering with a live scene (probably not the correct term, but it had the same meaning), had to hire a lawyer, go to court, and ended up getting a deferred judgement with it eventually getting off his record. This was all a big hassle and very expensive.

My question for you is what are your tips for avoiding being in the wrong place at the wrong time when spending the night out in Denver, and what is the right thing to do in a situation when there is a drunken fight going on? Obviously avoiding it completely is usually the best course of action, but when there's someone who could be seriously injured it is hard to avoid seeing what's going on.

DenverPolice22 karma

Its a good question. Of course, we are only reading one side in your post. I have learned that there are usually two sides....

I will say this, if an officer directs you to do something, do it. The place to argue is NOT in the street. File a complaint later if you think they were wrong. jail and detox suck

fooliam15 karma

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions, Mr. Murray. Across the nation as a whole, there seems to be a growing sense of distrust and unease towards police departments. From the perspective of a law enforcement officer, do you feel that there are trust issues between law enforcement and the public? If so, do you have any insight on how to rebuild the trust the public should have in the police?

DenverPolice22 karma

YES! Chief White speaks about this often. In fact, he recently did a "TedTalk" about the issue. We will post it when we get a copy (our video board is http://pinterest.com/denverpolice/videos/)

He believes that we are on the verge of a revolution in law enforcement and that respect is at the heart of the trust issue. If officers and departments treat everyone with respect - trust will come and crime will go down. Pretty simple.

austinmoney14 karma

Is it against policy for members of the police force to use marijuana even though it is legal? Also, if your a "donuts and coffee" kid of cop, what is your favorite donut? Edit: spelling

DenverPolice21 karma

The Constitutional Amendment allows for employers to prohibit the use of marijuana. The city has done so. Also, remember that using Marijuana is till illegal Federally. Everyone should KEEP THAT IN MIND when crossing state borders.

Not a big fan of donuts - sorry

hansjens4713 karma

If you could make one (large) change in regulation on how the police functions in Denver and in the rest of the US, what would you change?

DenverPolice40 karma

Treat everyone, regardless of their station in life, with respect. We HAVE to enforce the law, but it should be done respectfully.

Handmeafish13 karma

How do I become an officer with a drug/bomb/contraband sniffing dog at the airport?

urbaneremite12 karma


DenverPolice9 karma

To know what is happening, we recommend https://twitter.com/DenverPolice. There are pros and cons to scanners. We are required to protect the identity of sex assault victims, but sometimes have to broadcast it to other cops. Is it really necessary for the public - or just fun?

urbaneremite17 karma


DenverPolice19 karma

point taken

Tarethnamath12 karma

What is the most enjoyable part of the job?

DenverPolice33 karma

Easy! When you get a chance to make a difference. You are there on the worst day of someone's life and are able to give them good to hang on to when they remember it.

aljds10 karma

I live in Denver and have been concerned about some of the recent shootings outside the bars in downtown, what can I do to ensure my safety?


DenverPolice25 karma

Some rules to LIVE by:

  1. Stay in pairs
  2. Don't go into alleys to pee, etc.
  3. Don't go looking for trouble (it may find you)
  4. Leave well before bars close

wildwobby9 karma

What has been the most disappointing experience as chief? Conversely, what has been your most proud moment as chief?

DenverPolice11 karma

I am not the Chief of Police. As the Chief of Staff, I work directly for Chief White. I handle issues for him and am responsible for the police department's Public Affairs Bureau.

Sorry that isn't the answer you were looking for!

freshleycrusher9 karma

does denver pd have a computer crime department and, if so, how big is it?

DenverPolice7 karma

We utilize the state computer lab for complex computer crimes.

jsdratm9 karma

I looked at a crime map of Denver and it appeared that most of the crime was centered on the 16th street pedestrian mall. Why do you think this is and are there any other high crime areas?

I went to college in Milwaukee and I have to say that Denver is a very well policed city in comparison. There were many places in Milwaukee where I wouldn't feel safe at night, whereas I have never felt that way anywhere in Colorado. It looks like the police are doing a good job.

DenverPolice10 karma

We have seen concentrations of crime downtown. There is a focus to keep it safe and enjoyable - but there is a balance as well.

breathe_happy8 karma

Has there see been an instance that had you so frustrated and angry that you considered other career options? The law is not black and white, so there has to be some situation that was frustrating.

DenverPolice24 karma

Sure, but I love my job.

I get very frustrated when people break the law and then blame me.

codyjdalton8 karma

How has it been adjusting to marijuana being legal? Does your department support the law? What problems has it solved/created?

DenverPolice5 karma

We don't have a position. Our job is to follow and enforce the law. It is certainly more complicated. We are also seeing, contrary to the pro-marijuana lobby, more marijuana in possession of youth.

dyanceyfunnie7 karma


DenverPolice10 karma

I came on the job in 1991. We are much LESS militarized than we were then.

aeranvar9 karma

Could you elaborate on this? This answer relates to a follow-up question I had above. How has the militarization of your police force changed over the last 20 years?

DenverPolice6 karma

Are you talking about equipment?

If so yes. After the Riverside, CA robberies, we all saw the need to get AR-15 rifles. We need high tech bomb equipt now. Some departments are looking at drones. If that is the question - yes.

aeranvar5 karma

You claimed "We are much LESS militarized than we were then." I was just seeking clarification about what you meant, whether it be equipment, tactics, attitude, or whatnot. How has the police force become less militarized? Edit: Spelling

DenverPolice8 karma

Attitude, structure, culture.

aeranvar4 karma

(I feel like I'm getting a lot of questions answered)

Would I be correct in assuming one could unpack that answer into the following?

Attitude - The police force's attitude has shifted away from an "us vs. them" mentality and more towards a public service mentality.

Structure - The police force's hierarchy is less rigid and more flexible?

Culture - Not too sure what you mean here.

DenverPolice7 karma


  1. Attitude - goes to what Chief White says, treat everyone with respect
  2. Structure - create a department poised to PREVENT crime
  3. Culture - officers have to change the way they perceive their responsibilities to the public.

PokeyHydra6 karma

Why have DV cases been so high this summer?

DenverPolice9 karma

If there is an increase I am not aware of it. Domestic violence is unacceptable. I teach about how to properly investigate this crime all over Colorado. Hope it becomes much more rare.

llasto6 karma

Thanks for this. How about more bike patrols in nw denver, thru rocky mountain park, etc

DenverPolice12 karma

We are supporters of foot patrols and bike patrols. Right now, staffing is too low. The city has authorized 110 new officers in 2013 - we will be able to do more when they start working.

JackOneill6 karma

I know it's only been a few weeks but how has the redistricting affected the department's ability to handle the call load?

DenverPolice7 karma

Staffing has made response times to calls slower. We have released two videos (another will come out tonight) on this issue. Check them out to be better educated!

http://youtu.be/UnSRPYAx3FY http://youtu.be/9SB5Hhfqmd8

jmd9qs4 karma

on behalf of /u/IAmASocketMan:

RTD has their own police force (I don't understand why, but they are RTD employees with guns (? why?) who give tickets for not having a pass basically). RTD employs private security on the W line quite often (I suspect because the line is new it's to keep people honest, I never saw a presence on C/D/E of private security but only RTD police). My question is: when private security cannot tell you what authority they have to demand you show your pass for a public service, and Denver PD responds to the call, why does Denver PD not know what authority they have to demand your pass? Why can they not tell the private security these regulations? If they are to enforce law, why do they not know it? Why does their dispatch not know it?

Because RTD is a public service they are not subject to private whims (such as malls which in theory could give you a ticket upon entrance and ask you to leave if you do not have this ticket later and if you refuse can call the police to remove you by force). They are subject to public law, and I want to know what Denver PD does to ensure their officers understand RTD regulations if they respond to private security. This all stems from an incident I had on RTD when I refused the private security request to show my boarding pass. I asked what authority they had, the security got frustrated and angry instead of knowing why I should show them my pass. I didn't want to make other passengers late so I voluntarily left the W line (so the driver continued at the next stop) instead of making a scene on the train. DPD responded to their call and again did not know why the private security had authority, and could not tell me what would give DPD officers any authority to ask for my riding pass. It's a simple question that left me an hour late getting home because I asked it.


Actually I'm also very curious why DPD shot and killed a man with a knife (story) ... pepper spray and stun gun didn't work, but was he really posing a threat? Seriously, it's overly aggressive of the police to just shoot (because they killed a handicapped man with a flashlight before, among many other overuses of power) a man with just a knife.

I'm sure this is a political topic, but why do the police feel that someone with a close-quarters weapon is worthy of being shot to death? I mean... they can certainly taze him, or drive a car over him, and he's much more likely to live. Shooting just seems excessive... ... ... ugh.

DenverPolice10 karma

LONG question!

RTD may employ armed security, just as the Library or public schools do. Also, in Denver there are many security personnel with limited police powers (called "Special Police"). They are allowed to enforce PERTS of the law (handicapped parking violations, etc).

I cannot talk about an active investigation (the shooting you refer to). But I was a detective and supervisor in homicide so I have investigated a number of officer involved shooting incidents. The law allows all citizens to defend themselves when threatened with deadly force. A knife is a deadly weapon.

We have numerous cases where officers attempt to stop a suspect with a taser or pepper weapon, but the suspect continues the threat.

c0rncak34 karma

do you believe the new cannabis regulation has done a lot of good for Colorado?

DenverPolice9 karma

That is for the people to decide.

c0rncak32 karma

has it changed how a normal day on the job is for you?

DenverPolice4 karma


[deleted]4 karma


DenverPolice11 karma

"See something say something". Your call could prevent theft from auto vehicle, burglary, maybe even a rape.


JuanJondre2 karma

How has the legalization of marijuana affected information sharing, relations with federal authorities, such as the DEA?

DenverPolice3 karma

Don't know that it has had any impact. it is a good question though. Need a NARC to answer.

jistlerummies2 karma

What's the safe, safe speed limit in the toll lane on I-25?

DenverPolice4 karma

Sorry, not familiar with it.