Police: We'll Be Watching You

February 2005
No, we're not quoting Sting but paraphrasing Denver police spokesman John White on what's in store for downtown bar owners and Denverites this week:
Denver police swept through LoDo Saturday night, checking more than two dozen bars and nightclubs for liquor code violations in anticipation of NBA All-Star Game festivities. With many bars gearing up for the party-hearty event this week, the sweep was aimed at sending a clear message: We're watching you.
The entire Denver police force will be working 12-hour shifts this week as the city goes into serious party mode for the NBA All-Star game. The FBI will serve as backup to the DPD, and has been searching actively for possible threats. They say they are ready.
Riots, terrorist attacks or a deadly confrontation between rival rap labels - if anything happens as NBA All-Star events take place this week, Denver police and the FBI will be ready. ..."We had our agents try to dig up any type of threat against the NBA to prevent anything from happening and to help us build a threat assessment," Olson said. "We looked at potential threats from international terrorism, domestic terrorism, gangs and violent criminals." As of Monday, he said, "we have no credible, specific threat information targeting the NBA."
They are determined to leave no stone unturned:
"During this entire event there is a major push to stay on top of who is in town," Olson said. "We know who rented what clubs and who's going to be where, when."
Nonetheless, they want you to know that while they will be a noticeable presence, they are not trying to be heavy-handed, just keep everyone safe. There's a lot at stake, financially and reputationally: According to city leaders, more than 3.1 billion people in 214 countries will be watching and more than $30 million is expected to fill the coffers of hotels and local businesses.
Thirty million dollars at a traditionally slow time of year is very, very big," said Dani Stern, the Westin hotel's general manager, who plans to sleep in his office at the hotel for four nights in case the staff needs his assistance. "
For entrepreuners, particularly those in the African American community, this week offers an unparalleled chance to network and show off Denver as a great place to live and work. For downtown office workers, the week will present some challenges. Watch out for street closures on 15th St., Northbound Santa Fe and around the Convention Center. Here's a map so you don't get caught by surprise. Or, you can just give in, join the fun and revel in city life. Ticket information on NBA all-star events is here.