DENVER–President Obama’s gun-control speech Wednesday at the Denver Police Academy is expected to feature a backdrop of uniformed police officers, and that could be a problem.
A Denver officer has filed an ethics complaint after the department offered police the opportunity to appear in uniform behind the president during his remarks Wednesday at the Denver Police Academy.
“They’re using our brand to take sides,” DPD technician Danny Veith told 9NEWS. “Our image should not be used for one political party or another.”
A memo obtained by 9News says that the chance to appear with the president is strictly voluntary. Those scheduled to work that day may attend as staffing allows, meaning that officers may be paid for their participation.
Gun-rights advocates have decried the use of Denver police, arguing that their presence will imply that the department endorses the White House’s push for stricter gun-control laws. No ruling from the city’s ethics panel is expected before the event.
“It’s agenda based and they shouldn’t be there,” retired Denver police detective Mike Rossi told CBS4. “To me if you put Denver police officers behind the President, who is pushing this agenda, then what you are telling the citizens of the city is that the Denver Police Department is for this.”
News of the president’s arrival has sparked at least two Wednesday counter-events. The National Rifle Association is holding a “Stand Up for the Second Amendment” protest rally outside the academy during Mr. Obama’s appearance, which is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m.
Sixteen Colorado sheriffs are holding a news conference to speak out against the state’s gun-control measures at 1 p.m. at Thomas (Fred N.) Memorial Park in Denver, about a mile from the academy.
Mr. Obama is also slated to meet with community leaders and law-enforcement officials before his remarks.