***DISCLAIMER*** This does not have anything to do with those who've actually suffered from police brutality. It's an unfortunate set of events, however this is my personal accord from my "Community Relations" ride along that I witnessed firsthand.
First and foremost, I'd like to thank with a sincere heart the police officers at Denver's 6th District. Specifically, officer's Peltier, Neblock, Yepishin, and Lemmons. These gentlemen really opened my eyes on the true good that properly trained police officers do in the community.
As a concerned citizen living in the Denver area, I wanted to be more involved in my community. On television all last year and until now we all saw a lot of police shootings that have not just disturbed the black community, but the world. Like any normal black man in America, I was angry. I had reservations on how the civilian police were truly when you are dealing with them one on one. Yes, I said, "civilian police" because if you forgot from reading my "About MikeCon" section, I grew up in the military service because of my Father, then I did my own tour of service as well. With that being said, I've grown accustomed to how military police work. After speaking with officer Peltier from a few months ago when I did a quick shoot of him at Cheesman Park, he asked me to do a ride along with him and check out a day and see the police officer life first hand.
On 23 October 2017, our day began at 0700 (7 a.m. for you civilians) for "Role Call". We listened to the Sergeant passing the daily updates on things to look out for, and fugitives they're looking for before we hit the streets. We went downstairs and to his vehicle, got in and I wondered, 'How the heck is anything going on this early in the morning?', so I asked officer Peltier, "Does anything really happen this early, and on a Monday"? He replied, "Not normally, but you never know. Monday's are usually slow". We pulled out of the station, and sure enough, the radio squelched, and we were off to our first call.
We arrived at our first call at a hotel, where the front desk worker told us about one of the tenants being unruly. The next call really showed me a different perspective of people. There was a homeless couple that was sleeping in front of someone's home. After spending time to explain to them that they couldn't remain there, it was explained to me that the homeless problem in Denver has been a major one and to the point that there's not much they can do except shuffle them around the city. Yes, there's shelters they can go to, however most don't go because there's bedbugs, lice, thievery and some domestic violence that goes on in there. It's so bad that there's a special "Homeless Outreach Unit" that does their best to mediate issues that arise from the homeless and others.
As the day went on we encountered other domestic issues between family and roommates, then dealt with a depressed man, living in a hostel for sex offenders, dealing with severe depression, who subsequently ended up getting locked up because he had a warrant for his arrest (failure to appear in court). Other than that, there were quite a few calls that were for the removal of homeless people. It's apparent there's a MAJOR problem, not just in Denver, but around the entire U.S. It gave me a better perspective and shifted my mindset to trying to figure out what I can do to help this and contribute to assisting these citizens. Seriously, it wasn't a race issue in my head anymore, it was a human issue. Human issues should ALWAYS be the biggest concern.
Seeing all of the homeless people made me want to engage this problem first hand and be part of the solution to help the community. This year and for all the upcoming years I personally want to be more involved in helping people have food to survive. I'm asking that we all play a part in this and help our fellow man. There can only be a resolution if we all take a stand and make a difference!!
P.S. I almost forgot to add....please someone, make some time and get those officers at the 6th district some upgrades to their building. They've been dealing with flooding, asbestos, and mold. They truly deserve better!!!