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.
Please note that restricted files will be made available only to persons or organizations named in the files. The Request form will be turned over to a designated member of the staff who will check index and file to verify identification. If the customer’s name is not on the index, a certified letter will be sent notifying customer. If a customer’s name appears on index, redacted copies will be sent by certified mail to customer.
Please mail forms to the Denver Public Library – Western History and Genealogy Department
10 West 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, Colorado 80204-2731
If you have a questions, please contact us by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 720-865-1821.
Please note that for City and County of Denver Police Records, the Police Department has a retention period of 10 years for most reports made. For more serious crimes (i.e. homicides, sex assaults, etc.), those records are kept indefinitely. Additionally, their records can go as far back as 1920, but there is no guarantee they have all reports made or that they are still complete and intact. Current records have been digitized since 2008, and they will likely have more complete reports and records since then. It varies greatly the older the report is, and it is better to assess a record request on a case-by-case basis. Please contact them if you have any further questions or concerns.
To request records pertaining to an individual, customers must fill out this application and present a legally acceptable photo identification card that includes birth date, which will be copied and attached to the application. Please allow 30 days for response/certified letter.
If a representative's request for papers pertaining to an organization or group is accepted, all names of persons will be redacted unless the Library receives the Affidavit of Release (Form 2.3.6) from each individual stating that they give permission to the Denver Public Library to release their names. All other names will be redacted.
Requests for Police Department Intelligence records pertaining to a group or organization require an Affidavit of Representation including notarization. The representative is required to attest to the fact he or she is an authorized representative of the group or organization. The signature on the form must be witnessed and attested to by a notary public.
Contains names, crimes, punishments, and dates for crimes committed from May, 1895 through August, 1904. Case number and reference to Colorado State Archive files where the information came from are included.