Collaborations in Witness Protection: Denver’s Replicable Model

The cooperation of victims and witnesses is crucial to achieving successful investigations and prosecutions of criminal offenders. However, victims and witnesses are often reluctant to give information and evidence because of perceived or actual intimidation, threats, or retaliation against them or members of their families regarding their involvement with law enforcement or prosecution. To address the critical concern of victim and witness protection, the Denver, Colorado, District Attorney’s Office created the Denver District Attorney’s Office Witness Protection Program in 2008. This program, operating in partnership with the Denver Police Department, strives to create best-practice procedures that protect and assist persons whose cooperation with the criminal justice system in an investigation or prosecution puts them—or persons closely associated with them—at risk of serious physical or emotional harm. The program embraces a holistic approach that includes tactical protection strategies, victim and witness assistance services, and lifestyle transformations, all existing within the collaborative philosophy on which the program is based.