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Mayor's choice for Denver Police chief: 'I have a responsibility to make us better'

9:46 PM, Oct 29, 2011   |    comments
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"I am elated to have this opportunity," White said during a press conference on Saturday. "I assured [Hancock] and I assure each and every resident of the community: I will not disappoint you."

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock introduced White as his choice for the new chief of police on Saturday after announcing his choice on Friday. White, who is the police chief in Louisville, Ky., arrived in Colorado on Saturday morning.

"I am 100 percent supportive of being transparent. This is not the police department of the 1,400 sworn men and women of Denver - this is the community's police department. The community needs to know what's going on inside and outside the PD," White said.

White says he hopes to build a relationship with the community and restore trust between the citizens of Denver and the police department.

"One thing I want to assure you of is that we will be more transparent and we will be more connected with the community," he said. "The old adage, 'What isn't broke, don't fix it,' I'm not from that school. If it's 99 percent, it's my job to make it 100 percent. So, where ever we are good or bad, I have a responsibility to make us better."

Experts say White will have to deal with three police unions in Denver and will also have to find a role for the current chief, Gerry Whitman, who will stay within DPD.

"Gerry Whitman is an honorable man," Metro State Criminal Justice Professor Joseph Sandoval said. "He's going to go back into the ranks as a captain. Chief White will have to deal with where he's going to place him, how he's going to utilize Gerry Whitman's talents."

Whitman has publicly said he would retire from the Denver Police Department by 2015.

"He's got a difficult job," Whitman said of Hancock on Saturday." I know exactly where he is coming from. The mayor has made a great decision. We brought a superstar in to take my place, and I support him. I'm not taking this personal, not at all."

9Wants to Know has learned that White rose to the top of the pack early on. A total of 61 people applied for the Denver job, but White stood out for several reasons.

White has been a police officer for 40 years and has been Louisville's chief for eight years.

Nick Rogers with the Denver Police Protection Association said on Friday he would have rather seen one of his own colleagues get promoted.

"I am disappointed that they went outside," Rogers said. "I mean no disrespect to him, but I was hoping that they would come up with a chief from the inside, to be perfectly honest with you."

But Rogers says he still plans to support White.

"I welcome him," Rogers said. "I am glad we have a chief. I am going to give him all the respect that he deserves, and I am going to do everything I can in my power to help this transition come off as positive as it can."

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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