In 1953 the Denver Police Department began to gather information on individuals and groups regarding activities that might pose a threat to public safety. The files came to be known as the Spy Files during the publicity surrounding an American Civil Liberties Union class action lawsuit in 2002. According to the lawsuit, as many as 3,200 individuals and 208 organizations had been targeted for intelligence gathering operations. These groups and individuals included not only criminal elements but also peace activists and education and human rights organizations. The lawsuit was settled in 2003 with the city revising its policies governing the gathering of this type of information.
Mayor John Hickenlooper ordered the records be archived at the Denver Public Library and preserved for study. Part of the archive is currently available to the public and part is a restricted collection, accessible only by those individuals and organizations specifically named in the documents. The complete collection will open to the public in the year 2055.
Police officers sit at desks at the information office in the Denver Police Building, Denver, Colorado .
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Updated: January 10, 2013