National firms chosen to review Denver Sheriff’s Department

Photo: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announces the firms that will conduct an external review of the beleagured Denver Sheriff's Department on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced Thursday two national consulting firms will review the embattled sheriff’s department.

Hillard Heintze of Chicago and OIR Group of Los Angeles will suggest ways to reform the department that’s been rocked by excessive force cases. Hancock says the two independent reviews are a crucial step in turning the sheriff’s department around.

“Everything is on the table," Hancock says. "I believe taking this step with these team of outside experts will help us reform this Denver Sheriff’s Department into an agency we can all, once again, be proud of.”

Hiring the two firms will cost about $300,000.

Hancock also said no decision has been made yet on whether the city will appeal the verdict in the Marvin Booker case. A federal jury this week awarded Booker’s family $4.6 million after finding Denver sheriff’s deputies used excessive force while booking him into jail. Booker died from a heart attack.

Hancock says his decision to appeal will rest on the advice of city lawyers.

“The city attorney’s office certainly will take the time to take a look at the verdict," Hancock says.