It’s no secret that Colorado has been hit with a crime wave. Skyrocketing crime rates, fentanyl deaths, and the number one rank in the country when it comes to auto thefts, are all factors that have put Colorado’s economic future at risk and made Coloradans less safe.
Public safety plays a critical role in the economic vitality of a community. Increasing population, attracting new businesses, generating a workforce, and bolstering the ability to attract tourism are all directly related to real and perceived safety challenges. If people are not safe, they cannot learn, work, or enjoy their communities. Ultimately, high crime rates result in a failure to thrive. Our recent report “The Fight Against Crime in Colorado: Policing, Legislation, and Incarceration,” poses the question: Why has Colorado become less safe? A comparison of policing and crime rates in the two largest cities in Colorado, Denver and Colorado Springs, uncovers distinctly different trends in policing and police resources that have produced differing outcomes.
2023 Public Safety Fellow Chief Paul Pazen is the former Chief of Police in Denver, Colorado where he rose through the ranks of the department up to his appointment in 2018 as the Chief. He joins Chairman and Host Earl Wright to discuss his report, what contributing factors have led to the increase in crime, what can be done about it, and how the community can play an active role in supporting those who protect us.
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During his tenure as Police Chief, Paul Pazen (retired) led the creation and expansion of innovative solutions to address complex public safety issues. These programs include spearheading the creation of the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program, Outreach Case Coordinators (case managers) and the Domestic Violence Prevention Program. He directed a significant expansion of the mental health clinician Co-Responder Program, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), the implementation of a forward-thinking use-of-force policy and training curriculum.
Chief Pazen graduated magna cum laude from Colorado State University – Global with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, holds a Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Defense from the Naval Postgraduate School, and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Executive Institute (NEI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (FBINA) and the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) through the Police Executive Research Forum. Chief Pazen served in the United States Marine Corps and is a Veteran of the Gulf War.