DENVER (CBS4) - Some current and former Denver police officers have taken to Facebook to criticize President Barack Obama's planned use of Denver police officers as a backdrop for a Wednesday speech on gun control.
"This is wrong and it shouldn't be happening," said Mike Rossi, a retired Denver police detective who left the department in 2005.
CBS4 has learned that the Denver Police Department has been asking for officers -- in uniform -- to volunteer to stand behind Obama as he makes his speech Wednesday at the Denver Police Academy.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama will "continue to ask the American people to join him in calling on Congress to pass common sense measures to reduce gun violence."
Prior to the speech, the President will meet with Colorado law enforcement officials and community leaders to discuss Colorado's newly enacted gun control measures.
"Who better to stand behind you when you're trying to ban guns than police officers. What an awesome prop," said Rossi. He said DPD officers should not be used as a backdrop to make it appear the Denver Police Department and the City of Denver support stronger gun control measures.
"It's agenda based and they shouldn't be there," said Rossi. "To me if you put Denver police officers behind the President, who is pushing this agenda, then what you are telling the citizens of the city is that the Denver Police Department is for this."
DPD spokesman Sonny Jackson said the department began seeking volunteers last week who were willing to stand behind the president during his speech. Jackson said numerous officers have volunteered for the assignment.
Officer Wade Davis is not one of them. In a Facebook posting, Davis wrote the following:
Yet Obama is coming to our city, using the DPD's Academy as a stage in order to push his legislation violating the second amendment. Truly a sad day for this department, city and state.
Another Officer, Danny Veith, wrote on Facebook:
I am thinking about being on the sidewalk outside the Academy, on Wednesday, holding a sign that says something like "I'm a Real Cop Supporting the 2nd Amendment." Anyone want to join me?
Jackson said the Denver Police Academy was selected as the venue for the Obama appearance because of its convenient location and size that could accomodate a large gathering. Jackson declined to discuss the political ramifications of DPD officers standing behind the president during his speech.
Following the Denver appearance, Obama will head to California where he is scheduled to appear at Democratic fundraisers Wednesday and Thursday.
- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com
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