How do you intend to interact with police unions if in the circumstance an officer breaks the law, e.g., excessive force towards in marginalized and minority communities?
Chief Douglas Stephens: Well, I can tell you first off that no officer, I don’t care anyone in our agency would support someone who breaks the law, right? We’re not supportive of officers who use excessive force, unnecessary force. It makes us all look horrible, and you can see what it’s done to our profession. One of the things I think is the most disturbing and troubling for me as a 30-year-enforcement professional to see the damage that can be done. It can take decades and decades and decades for our officers to do professional policing, and they’d be respectful and courteous and do everything right. I think it could be torn down in seconds by some officers doing something totally inappropriate in another state somewhere.
So that’s very challenging and very difficult. As far as the police unions go, we have a very positive relationship with our officer’s association here, and we meet regularly, and they represent the concerns of the officers, and then I work with the city management to make sure those concerns are addressed in a positive manner. They’re very receptive, and we’ve had to discipline and take some pretty serious discipline against officers for different policy violations in the past, and they totally support that, given the fact that we have a very thorough, very impartial investigations process. So we have had no problems in Littleton with our officer’s association. I can’t say that’s the same for other places, but for here, we’re good.