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Welcome to Denver!

Written by Jennifer Gavigan

Denver will host the 116th Annual IACP Conference at the Colorado Convention Center this Oct. 3-7. With a population of over 500,000, Denver turns 150 years old this November. Denver is often referred to as the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and urban sophistication. That’s what locals love about the Mile High City. With snowcapped peaks providing a spectacular backdrop, Denver is as refined as it is laid-back. The mild climate surprises many people; Denver is nestled at the base of the Rockies, not in them. With 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s easy to see why people fall in love with Denver the first time they visit.

Denver is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. Independent boutiques, galleries and restaurants are nestled in areas outside the vibrant downtown. With a diverse population, there is something for everyone. Hundreds of museums and galleries make Denver the Arts Capital of the West. The Denver Performing Arts Complex includes 10 venues for Broadway theatre, opera, ballet and the symphony. Bike paths throughout the city are a great way to explore major attractions, or escape for a day trip into the majestic Rockies.

Denver has the nation’s largest city park system and 850 miles of urban trails, perfect for exploring on two feet or two wheels. There are dude ranches and fly-fishing for outdoor enthusiasts and whitewater kayaking or rafting for adventure seekers. If time permits during your visit, take in the sights from above on a balloon or helicopter tour, or on the ground with horseback riding or an off-road adventure. And you can be in the Rocky Mountains in 20 minutes, where hiking, snowboarding and more await. Denver is one of only two cities in America with eight professional sports teams. Baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby—Denver’s got it all.

Whether on foot, by car or by light rail, Denver is an easy city to get around. Downtown is very pedestrian friendly, but you can also hop on the free shuttle that runs along the 16th Street Mall. The Light Rail connects downtown to the suburbs; buses and taxis offer convenient transport. Denver’s grid-like design makes most routes easy to navigate by car using a map, and numerous options are available for disabled travelers. The city is accessible via a number of highways, including E-470, a toll highway that runs along the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area. And remember, when you’re out in the city, you can always stop in at one of Denver’s conveniently located Visitor Information Centers for guidance.

Gerald R. Whitman is the chief of police for Denver. Whitman joined the Denver Police Department in 1982 as a patrol officer. He served as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and then division chief—all within the Denver PD’s Patrol Division—before being named chief in February 2000 by then-Mayor Wellington Webb. Whitman is also a member of the IACP. The Police Headquarters is located at 1331 Cherokee Street.

The Patrol Division manages the six patrol districts located throughout the city of Denver. The divisions are staffed by 873 uniform police officers who provide 24-hour police protection to the community, and the more specialized officers and detectives assigned to the Gang Bureau, Metro/SWAT Bureau and Nuisance Abatement Unit.

In 1998, the city and county of Denver and the Denver Police Department joined a growing national trend in law enforcement and “took to the air” with an air unit to enhance efforts to combat crime and provide a safe environment for its residents.

The city also has a collection of restaurants that are garnering national recognition. Great steak houses have always been easy to find in Denver, but in recent years, as more innovative, young chefs are establishing their own eateries in the Mile High City, the local offerings rival those of any culinary mecca. Denver Post food editor Tucker Shaw recommends Shazz (4262 Lowell Blvd.) for its perfectly cooked ribeye (from River Ranch in Steamboat Springs). Locals like high-end eatery Fruition on 6th Ave. for its pasta carbonara.

According to Westword.com, Virgilio’s, a tiny pizzeria on Wadsworth and Alameda, is the most unlikely place to find some of the best pizza in Denver. The Oven in Lakewood is also full of neighborly types from across the city every night. Some locals claim the Double with Cheese at Bud’s Bar in Sedalia is the Best Burger in Colorado. The Buckhorn Exchange on Osage St. was voted the “Best Steakhouse for Tourists” due in part to its museum upstairs.

The “Best Sports Bar for the Non-Sports Fan” is College Inn on 8th Ave. If you crave Asian fusion, modern Mexican or Mediterranean, a casual bite or an evening of fine dining, more than 300 restaurants offer something for every palate. Denver is also a music city, with hundreds of live venues offering eclectic choices every night of the week, from hip-hop dance clubs to soulful jazz.

Jennifer Gavigan is the editor of Public Safety IT. She can be reached at jgavigan@hendonpub.com.


Published in Law and Order, Sep 2009

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