Denver school board votes unanimously to end contract with police department
Denver’s public school system voted unanimously this week to end its contract with the Denver Police Department (DPD), a move similar to those of other cities seeking to distance themselves from law enforcement.
The board’s Wednesday decision will phase out DPD officers from public schools through June 2021.
Denver Public Schools’s $720,000 contract with the city’s police provided the district with 18 school resource officers this past school year. The schools will now rely on 100 armed and unarmed private security officers.
“What we saw in our streets was a reaction to what we will no longer tolerate,” school board Vice President Jennifer Bacon said. “This topic is not new or knee-jerk.”
Data collected by Chalkbeat shows black students in Denver are disproportionately referred to law enforcement, ticketed and arrested at school.
“We want to make sure all students in all of our schools, especially our students of color, feel safe and protected,” school board member Tay Anderson said last week, according to a local NBC affiliate.
Earlier this month the Minneapolis public school system — as well as the city’s parks and recreation department — voted unanimously to terminate their contract with the city police department.
Their decisions came around a week after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 after a now-former police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd told him he could not breathe.