The officer who detained a journalist once helped me out

Making a mistake that turns very public is often a daunting experience. Online armies of people will often sum up a person’s character and eclipse an entire career with an incident that may only last seconds or minutes.

I’ve been there before in my career.

With the permanency of the internet, I still receive hateful messages and notes from members of the public who come across things I’ve done that I wish I could go back and change. This is the harsh territory of working within a public arena and I accept it.

I’d imagine Denver Police Officer James Brooks is experiencing these feelings of frustration as the very public detainment of Colorado Independent journalist Susan Greene plays out on YouTube.

Let me be clear — I wholeheartedly disagree with the detainment of Greene and do believe Officer Brooks and his fellow officer made a serious mistake. The “act like a lady” statements are aggravating to hear.

I’ve had my own run in with law enforcement officers who tried to keep me from a public area and I understand how aggravating it can be to be told you can’t shoot video when the law clearly permits the exercise of the First Amendment. 

When I first heard Officer James Brooks was connected to the detainment of Greene, I racked my brain on why I heard his name before.

It turns out Brooks helped me out a few years ago when someone gained access to my car in my apartment complex garage and stole some items.

I came across a three-year-old Facebook post in which I praised Officer Brooks. I also sent a letter (see below) to the Denver Police Department back then, which I believe, was put in his file. 

I feel compelled to share this because I know there’s more to a person’s character and career beyond a public mistake. Hopefully this incident can be used for training. 

Commander Antonio Lopez:

I’d like to commend Officer James Brooks who did a wonderful job of recovering sentimental items that were stolen from my vehicle this past weekend and apprehending the suspect.

Sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning the suspect gained access to my vehicle in my parking garage, stole my press credentials, a watch that belonged to my late grandfather, cuff links given to me by my mother and vehicle paperwork.

Officer Brooks immediately took my case and seemed genuinely concerned about my loss.

Officer Brooks contacted a witness in the case who provided credible suspect information.

Somehow Officer Brooks was able to acquire a photograph of the suspect and shared that photo among downtown security officers and other groups like the Denver Business Improvement District.

Amazingly, within 8 hours of filing my report, Officer Brooks returned my items back to me along with news he arrested the suspect who was in possession of burglary tools.

Without the fine and immediate efforts of Officer Brooks, I would have never received my items back and this suspect would likely be out on the streets committing more property crime.

I understand the suspect has a criminal history and is currently on parole.

As someone who often covers crime and courts, I am well aware such burglary cases have an extremely low chance of an arrest.
I can’t express my gratitude enough for Officer Brooks.

He is truly reflective of what an officer should be and makes your department shine.

You’ve got a great officer on your team and I’m happy to spread the word about the good work he does for your department and this community.

Thank you!

Jeremy Jojola

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