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Talk to me about all the PDs in the Denver / Fort Collins area

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  • Talk to me about all the PDs in the Denver / Fort Collins area

    Considering relocating to Colorado. I'm already a certified PO on patrol in Las Vegas. Would like to lateral and get right back to patrol. Can anyone give me insight on good departments in the Denver area and Fort Collins area? Denver PD I see laterals still have to attend their full 17-week academy so unfortunately Denver PD is pretty much out. But all of the smaller departments seem to have an accelerated academy for laterals. Can anyone give me insight on any of the following:

    Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Boulder, Greeley, Longmont, Loveland, Littleton, Broomfield, Wheat Ridge?

  • #2
    As far as I know Denver PD continues to do all of its own recruitment and hiring via the city civil service commission. Most of the Denver metro area suburban cities participate in a joint testing program to generate a list for interviews, background, etc, so one application and testing may put you on several potential hiring lists. Testing is usually conducted once or twice per year.

    Colorado's Peace Officer Standards and Training Act requires certain levels of classroom and practical training. There is little, if any, reciprocity with other states' certifications. A few departments continue to operate their own training academies, but for the most part this has been taken up by the Colorado community college system. Some departments will sponsor new hires for required certification training, others will consider only those who have become certified prior to application (either by prior employment or by self-sponsoring through the community college programs). Certification generally lapses after 3 years from the last approved employment, requiring completion of the basic certification program again. Lateral entry hiring is extremely rare in Colorado (based on my experience of the past 47 years).

    Cost of living in the Denver metropolitan area is considerably higher than the rest of the state (with possible exceptions for the resort communities and ski areas). Housing costs and rents are quite high, certainly in comparison to other Colorado cities and probably in comparison to other US cities. Population density, traffic, crime rates, street gangs, and everything that accompanies big city living are all prevalent in the Denver metro area, making it a place that the rest of us Colorado residents avoid at any opportunity.

    No, I am not a cheerleader for the Denver Chamber of Commerce! Plenty of other places to live in squalor and have a crap sandwich every day without relocating there.

    Best regard from southern Colorado and a retired small town chief.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by retired1995 View Post
      As far as I know Denver PD continues to do all of its own recruitment and hiring via the city civil service commission. Most of the Denver metro area suburban cities participate in a joint testing program to generate a list for interviews, background, etc, so one application and testing may put you on several potential hiring lists. Testing is usually conducted once or twice per year.
      There is no longer a joint testing program, and all departments do their own.

      Aurora = good department with a supportive chief, you'll be very busy and are allowed to be a cop. No real pension (yet, they're trying to go to FPPA), just a 401A

      Fort Collins = good department in a college city, so those politics will affect the department. No pension, just a 401a

      Lakewood = good department (must have a bachelors degree), no pension just a 401a. Lakewood used to have a reputation as a mother-may-I department, although that seems to be fading.

      Thornton = good department (I work here), we have a defined benefit pension system (FPPA). We're also very busy, you can expect to handle 15+ calls for service over your 10 hour shift (unless you get a cluster F). Our department doesn't put the same emphasis on post high school education that other departments in the area do. You can easily become a Sgt at Thornton without a college degree if you have your sh*t together.

      Arvada = good department, its like a slightly smaller version of lakewood. Degree required for hire. Patrol cops here do all of their own felony filings instead of detective, and they have a reputation of being a more paper heavy department. No pension, just 401a

      Westminster = good department, they're kinda like Thornton's twin, also on FPPA defined benefit retirement.

      Boulder = decent department in a very liberal college town. Everything you do will be scrutinized, the Boulder DA loves to indict cops over nothing. You'll get paid well here but gotta make sure you don't mess up. They (the city in general) will hang you for it.401a

      Greeley = excellent department in a crap city. Good reputation and pay is best compared to the cost of living (greeley is substantially cheaper than other areas). Absolute garbage city (literally smells like it sometimes) and I would not raise a family here.

      Longmont = good department, you can grow your beard here. Pay sometimes needs to catch up with others, although seems fine at the moment. No pension, just 401a. Part of Longmont is in Boulder county FYI, part is in Weld County. Good city to live in and raise a family.

      Loveland = good department, must live close to the PD per policy, they get take home cars, chief is very pro traffic enforcement. Unsure on on pension.

      Littleton = ok department, small and I hear both good and bad, seems political. Would avoid in favor of Englewood or Arapahoe SO if you went to this area.

      Broomfield = good department in a middle to upper class city thats spread out. They get paid well and are on FPPA pension system as well. It's a little sleepy here in terms of LEO work, but not as sleepy as a rural county or small city. Good city to live and raise a family (if you can afford it).

      Wheat Ridge = ok department. Pay isn't the worst but will never be the best, either. The city is enclosed by others, so don't expect it to expand. Not much movement here. Used to have a reputation as a stepping stone for larger agencies, but that seems to have passed. Some seem to like it, just know what you're getting into. Unsure on pension.


      The most rapidly expanding departments, in both land area (annexing) and hiring are: Aurora, Thornton, Greeley, and Longmont. (in that order)

      Hope this info helps, these are just my impressions and you should always seek an opinion from someone who works at a particular department before deciding.

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      • #4
        ^^ I appreciate you taking the time to respond with all the information above. Would you mind me sending you a PM?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CaliMan35 View Post
          ^^ I appreciate you taking the time to respond with all the information above. Would you mind me sending you a PM?
          no

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CaliMan35 View Post
            Considering relocating to Colorado. I'm already a certified PO on patrol in Las Vegas. Would like to lateral and get right back to patrol. Can anyone give me insight on good departments in the Denver area and Fort Collins area? Denver PD I see laterals still have to attend their full 17-week academy so unfortunately Denver PD is pretty much out. But all of the smaller departments seem to have an accelerated academy for laterals. Can anyone give me insight on any of the following:

            Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Boulder, Greeley, Longmont, Loveland, Littleton, Broomfield, Wheat Ridge?
            The only thing I would add would be to warn you that Fort Collins is also abnormally selective/picky on who they hire. They look for specific personalities and they usualy only hire 1-3 officers at a time and get several hundred applicants for those few slots. Good department otherwise. FrontRangeCop already covered everything else.
            "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- George S. Patton Jr.

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            • #7
              Does anyone have information on any of the municipal court marshal agencies in these areas? I've been in patrol for almost 9 years now, and one of my favorite things to do aside from traffic crimes is locating warrants. I also have a decent amount of court security experience, so I'm already used to that. I occasionally entertain the idea of moving west, with CO, ID and Eastern WA my most frequently discussed regions, and the notion of moving into a job with a narrower scope seems somewhat appealing at times.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Fuerza View Post
                Does anyone have information on any of the municipal court marshal agencies in these areas? I've been in patrol for almost 9 years now, and one of my favorite things to do aside from traffic crimes is locating warrants. I also have a decent amount of court security experience, so I'm already used to that. I occasionally entertain the idea of moving west, with CO, ID and Eastern WA my most frequently discussed regions, and the notion of moving into a job with a narrower scope seems somewhat appealing at times.
                The only court marshals I know of that are POST certified AND go after municipal warrants are the Lakewood Marshals. There could be more, but those are the only ones I know.

                I know Denver has marshals, don't know anything about what they do though.

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                • #9
                  Does anyone have any further info to add regarding Loveland PD?

                  Comment


                  • SunDevil
                    SunDevil
                    Forum Member
                    SunDevil commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No, but if you like Cajun food make sure you go to mo betta gumbo while you are there.

                • #10
                  Don't forget the Sheriff's Offices. The only one to absolutely avoid is Denver as they only do detentions and court.

                  Lakewood requires academy attendance for laterals.
                  Aurora has a reduced academy for laterals.
                  Jefferson County requires an academy for laterals, same academy as Lakewood.
                  Adams County requires an academy for laterals

                  Some former co-workers work for Loveland, good department.
                  Used to live in Longmont, nice parts of town and no so nice. Has a cyclical meth problem.

                  Broomfield is good, went to the academy with some of their jail officers transferring to the road.
                  Broomfield is one of two city/county combinations (the other is Denver)… Broomfield PD also fills all the duties of a Sheriff's Office.

                  "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                  "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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                  • #11
                    Does anyone know any NYPD guys who lateraled over to Denver or other Colorado depts?

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by NYPDpoQNS View Post
                      Does anyone know any NYPD guys who lateraled over to Denver or other Colorado depts?
                      Two or so years ago I applied for Larimer County Sheriff's Office (it encompasses a large part of Northern CO, Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park) . The Captain in charge of patrol there at the SO was from the NYPD, I cant remember if he retired from the NYPD then came there or what, but he told us about the change and was glad he moved.

                      I've also heard of several NYPD guys going to Colorado Springs PD, don't know any of them personally. Looking to make the move?
                      "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- George S. Patton Jr.

                      Comment


                      • NYPDpoQNS
                        NYPDpoQNS
                        Forum Member
                        NYPDpoQNS commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Yeah trying to lateral out there ... I love the mountains and I love Denver it’s like a much smaller much cleaner nyc

                      • COMoparfan392
                        COMoparfan392
                        Rorum Fember
                        COMoparfan392 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I havent heard of any NYPD going to the Denver area of CO specifically but I'm sure it's happened. It all depends on what you're looking for. Denver relative to NYC is much smaller yes. However in comparison to the rest of the state it has exploded in the last 5 years let alone decade, as has the cost of living, not so much the wages. You have to work a significant amount of OT to afford a decent house in a decent neighborhood anywhere in/around Denver.
                        COMoparfan392
                        Rorum Fember
                        Last edited by COMoparfan392; 12-04-2019, 12:48 PM.

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by NYPDpoQNS View Post
                      Does anyone know any NYPD guys who lateraled over to Denver or other Colorado depts?
                      We (Thornton PD), had a 10yr NYPD cop lateral to our department in 2017. Unfortunately, he quit during FTO, the amount of work was too much for him. That's the only one I know of..

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Lots of good information here. I’ll just add a few things.

                        First, I would not agree that lateral programs are few and far between in CO; almost every agency I know of in CO take prior PATROL experience into account when determining starting step/salary.

                        Second, Greeley has always been regarded as a “**** city.” However, it’s like any other city, has it’s bad areas and it’s multi-million dollar house areas. If you are looking at Northern Colorado and your goal is actually to police real crime, Greeley is the only place to go. Tops out at ~100k in 5 years.

                        Third, Fort Collins has great pay (~100k) and great benefits, IF your idea of policing is sex assaults, thefts, and dealing with drunk college kids.

                        Fourth, I’ve heard from multiple Denver Metro peace officers (so second-hand information) that the only reason to consider Aurora is if you want some case law named after you.

                        Fifth, last year Loveland had a 10-15k sign on bonus, which is obviously incredible. That said, I’d categorize it as a mini-Fort Collins in terms of call types.

                        Sixth, two agencies in the Denver Metro area that are generally highly regarded and sought after are Lakewood and Lafayette (while wildly different). Lakewood has great pay, benefits, and a quick top out but is a large agency. Lafayette is smaller and slower, but tops out in the mid-high 80s and tops out in I believe 4 years. They also take corrections/detentions experience into consideration for later transfers to patrol, which is almost unheard of.

                        I can’t speak to Southern Colorado or the Western Slope. Hope that helps and good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          There are several small departments in NoCo also: Mead, Severance, Timnath, Nunn, Ault... etc. All pay less and operate on a shoestring.

                          Windsor is smaller than Fort Collins or Greeley, but bigger than the rest. Pays relatively well, decent equipment... very restrictive policies.
                          "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                          "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                          Comment

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