Denver Police Photo Shoot

Denver Police Photo Shoot


Jacom Stephens and Myself had been talking to the Denver Police Department about shooting a catalog of images for them, they decided to hire us to create a definitive catalog of images showing all aspects of the Denver Police, from being on the Street, taking to the Air, Caring for the helpless and the day to day activities the go along with being an officer for the DPD. Wow, what an opportunity. Once I got my head around it, I realized that this easily could be a once in a life time catalog. No one gets full access to a police department. This job was going to be huge. So, I told my assistant John that we were going to Denver for a super busy 9 days.

I figured we would get to skim the surface of each department and maybe inconvenience each division for a little time and then get a few cool pics, boy was I wrong. The word came down from the top to do and give us “Carte Blanche” access, and wowwzer, we had it. We were given a full time escort who acted like a concierge demi god, we just asked, he made it happen, Joe you  ROCK!

We started off by asking alot of questions so that we could fully understand the division that we would be shooting, we want to understand procedures, tactics, logistics, etc. It was so interesting and exciting to learn. I feel our excitement for learning was infectious because each division seemed to open up and give us total access to gear, and such.

We started off going to the Denver International Airport where the DPD has a division. The head of TSA met us and it was on we had access to the airport, BAM, we pulled out the CANINE UNIT and got the dog sniffing for bomb type stuff. We got the bike patrol to “be on patrol” in the airport and outside. We even set up a scene where a car was getting a ticket for parking illegally in the departure area.

We got access to the new CSI labs, got to learn how they would process cars for evidence, we pull out the mobile CSI unit (Large Truck) and we set up a fake crime scene. It was a great feeling because the CSI detectives are seasoned photographer, by the end of shooting with them we had some fans.

We went to the police academy and set up a day of shooting, we created “Community Interaction”, “Classroom Training”, “Police Graduation”, “Recruitment” images. That was really a fun day, everyone was in a festive mood. We had the Deputy Chief (He’s #2 in control of the whole DPD) for the whole day, he was great, he got in the pic and even helped move gear (to the dismay of the cadets :))

We got to go to the Gun range, No civilians go to the Gun range, once we got to know the guy and we let them know we loved guns, well the rest is history, what happens at the gun range stays at the gun range, AWESOME!

We got with the Motorcycle division and literally had access to shut down any street. It was crazy, we closed down an intersection, stopped the transit bus, all by saying hey “let’s shoot here” CRAZY!

Got to spend the night doing a drive along. Yes, I got to drive thru town at very fast speeds and force our way thru stop lights making cars get out of the way, that was cool. Got to eat hot dogs with the guys on the beat, cool.

We went back to the academy to shoot Academy training. Saw alot of p90x style stuff. 🙂

We got to go in Air One, the helicopter that hunts down the bad guys and assist the troops on the ground, (yeah no one gets to do that). Got to fly around for 4 hours. Got to chase down a suspect and direct the patrol cars to box him in with ease, that was cool. We had a FLIR camera monitor ( Night Vision) and could listen to dispatch, AMAZING.

The Horse Division was alittle hard to do, the horses didn’t like the lights, but we managed.

To top it off we got to tour Dispatch/911 center and see how that all works, I thought I was cool working with 3 computer monitors, they have 8, gear envy!

Dieter Spears Denver Police Department ShootWith a total of 19 different locations, over 115 different people photographed, we were zombies. Although the long hours and full schedule were very demanding, we had a great time working with Denver’s finest and learning more about how law enforcement works.

Everything went very smoothly and we were able to create some incredible images for the DPD. In fact, they have already started building recruiting posters with inspirational quotes to line the hallways of their Academy. And before we even left town, the Denver Sheriff’s Department and Denver Fire Department were asking when we could come back and do similar shoots for their organizations.

The final feather that proved we had all access, we had set an Ad Agency meeting in Boulder, CO. On our we we got pulled over by the Boulder Police for speeding. “Are you with the Denver Police Department?”, thinking that we were officers, so we explained we were doing photos for them. He didn’t know we were photographers. I think the way it showed up in the computer system when he ran my license was that we were somehow flagged as being associated with DPD for the week so nobody would hassle us. And I’m sure the DPD hats or our parking card on the dash didn’t hurt either. 🙂

Thank You DPD for showing us how you care for your jobs and the people that you protect, you are a class act, and I am proud to have been a part of your world for nine days.

Dieter Spears is a Nashville Photographer, He shoots Stock images for and Getty Images. He is an iStockphoto Inspector.

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