Police hiring crisis is fueling unsafe driving


Priorities change with size of police force

Re: “We need help and protection on our roads,” Nov. 30 letter to the editor

A letter-writer on Wednesday noted that he voted for Gov. Jared Polis and now expects him to do something to improve the enforcement of traffic laws. The governor, however, has no authority to hire or train any law enforcement officers.

Police chiefs and sheriffs throughout Colorado are operating with woefully understaffed departments. Officers and deputies have retired, often early, in droves over the last several years. The number of applicants remains low in an era of those who vocally disdain, if not curse, law enforcement and want their departments defunded.

Additionally, any potential applicant who has done the barest of research knows that traffic stops are one of the most dangerous activities any officer will undertake. For the foreseeable future, those deputies and officers still on duty will be too busy responding to reports of homicide, assault, sexual assault, robbery, and theft to even think about stopping a traffic law violator.

I suspect many, if not most, of them, are thankful they aren’t routinely walking up to a car wondering what threat the driver poses after stopping him or her for driving 40 through a school zone or a solid red light.

Vic Reichman, Denver

Trail for skiers only

This is not a letter so much as a correction. In the Winter Getaways insert in November, there is an article about winter hiking trails. The story suggests hiking to Red Rock Lake on the CMC trail. The CMC trail was created to give skiers a smooth ski trail unfettered with post-holes from hikers. There are several signs that designate the CMC trail as a skier-only trail. For hikers and snowshoers, there are two routes to get to Red Rock Lake and beyond; the Brainard Lake Road and a cut-off trail from Left Hand Reservoir Road that leads to Red Lake.

There is a strong history of people in Colorado who enjoy traveling overland by ski, whether to a hut or a lake. There are many ways to recreate in the winter here that are meant to provide fun for everyone. Please inform readers of the correct ways that they may access the Brainard Lake area if hiking with snowshoes or boots.

TJ Trombly, Denver

Why I voted “no” on school funding

Re: “Thanks for nothing, Douglas County misers,” Nov. 25 letter to the editor

The letter writer expressed a sentiment I often feel as a resident of Douglas County — dismay at how tax measures here usually fail. As a left-leaning independent, I’m usually at odds with my fellow residents. However, I was happy to note that Douglas County voters did approve a tax this cycle that they could have let expire — the sales and use tax that funds open space.

I normally will approve any increase to fund education. I think our teachers and students deserve the best we can give them. However, I voted against both tax increases this time around, and it’s entirely because of the shenanigans perpetrated by the current school board. They’ve been too willing to waste the money we give them on stupid political theater instead of running the district. I don’t trust them with the money they already have; I’m not about to give them more. It’s a shame too, because the ones that end up paying the price are the educators and students in the county they’re supposed to be supporting.

Jen Henry, Castle Rock

“Promote the general welfare” of children

Re: “The expanded child tax credit is gone; the battle over it remains,” Nov. 26 news story and “U.S. needs five times as many child psychiatrists,” Nov. 26 commentary

In your Monday paper, you have two stories closely related to each other, although that isn’t obvious at first glance.

On page 13A, the monthly payments of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which Congress passed in 2021, made a significant difference in the lives of children in America. The child poverty rate nationwide was cut nearly in half, relieving many families of some of the stress of providing sufficient food, shelter and clothing. Stopping those payments after seeing the very positive results was an unconscionable thing for Congress to do.

On page 18A is a commentary about the poor mental health of the children of America. The stress and anxiety of living in poverty, with food insecurity, parents working multiple jobs to survive, unstable living situations, etc., are significant factors in causing mental illness. Poor mental health is also a contributing factor to crime, homelessness, lack of civic engagement, and other elements of an unhealthy society.

The preamble to the Constitution calls for Congress to “promote the general welfare.” Child poverty is certainly a starting point for the welfare of all of us, now and in the future. Sen. Michael Bennet has been one of the prime leaders of the Child Tax Credit. Let us support him and urge our other members of Congress to restore and make permanent the expanded Child Tax Credit without delay.

Martha J. Karnopp, Aurora

Cruising not worth the COVID risks

Re: “A cure for Thanksgiving stress? For many, it’s a cruise,” Nov. 24 feature story

Your story from the New York Times on Thanksgiving cruises totally ignored the threat of COVID. Earlier this month, 800 COVID-positive passengers were removed from a cruise ship in Sydney, Australia.

My wife and I have taken at least 25 cruises, but we won’t anymore.

Larry McLaughlin, Aurora

Sidewalk ordinance too taxing on us all

Because of the length of our sidewalk, our home taxes increased $559 when Denver’s Initiated Ordinance 307 passed. This tax will apparently be adjusted for inflation into perpetuity. The sidewalks at our house are over 65 years old, and it would be fair to say that they will last a long into the future. Safe to say our home will receive no benefit from Ordinance 307.

The initial premise of the bill was that it was to help homeowners with the cost of sidewalk repairs on their property. The true scope of the bill, which is a decades-long and citywide overhaul of sidewalks at a high cost to individual homeowners, was not understood by most voters. There is no end date for this ordinance, so if or when all repairs are made, homeowners will still be paying.

The arbitrary way in which one household is charged more than their next-door neighbor because of the contours of the neighborhood or their position on the street is not fair. Nor is it fair that what part of the city a person lives in or if a house is on a main arterial street, that will determine a different tax amount.

The idea of sidewalks is a right of passage we all expect in our society. This is a citywide problem and sidewalk repair should be shared by everyone in an equitable way.

This is a flawed proposal that needs to be fixed quickly. If bonds are issued, it will make it impossible to change the problems of Ordinance 307.

O. Linden, Denver

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