Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

POP Conference August 7-9

January 23, 2023

The 31st Problem-Oriented Policing Conference will be held August 7-9 in Boulder, Colorado. As always, finalists for the Herman Goldstein Award will present their exceptional POP projects and a variety of related workshops on CPTED, problem analysis, place management, quality policing, and other topics will be offered. Conference information is available on the POP Center website here.

Police oversight in Boulder

January 17, 2023

Many cities have added or enhanced independent oversight of police in the last few years. In Colorado, Boulder established a Police Oversight Panel in 2020 to review individual misconduct cases and make discipline recommendations. A brewing controversy involves two newly-nominated panel members, as reported here. Nominees are selected by a committee of panel members along with representatives from two NGOs, with final approval in the hands of the city council. The current nominees are both vocal critics of the police department. The police chief and some others question whether these particular nominees can be objective and whether they will protect officers’ due process rights. The city council initially declined to approve the nominees in December, but the Panel has reaffirmed its nominations, setting up a showdown coming soon.

Fallout from 2020 protests

April 5, 2022

A federal jury in Denver has awarded $14 million to 12 protesters who were “hit with pepper balls and a bag filled with lead” during post-George Floyd protests in 2020, as reported here. According to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, there are at least 29 other similar lawsuits pending, including ones in New York, Washington, and Rochester. Meanwhile, last month 19 Austin PD officers were indicted on two counts each of aggravated assault resulting in injuries to 11 protesters in May 2020, mainly from beanbag rounds, as reported here. One use-of-force expert cites the relative lack of training for police on handling protests, noting “it would be prohibitively expensive to have officers practice deploying equipment” such as rubber bullets, pepper balls, bean bag rounds, and gas cannisters.

Colorado town relies on traffic fines

October 28, 2021

One of the flashpoints in Ferguson, Missouri a few years ago was heavy traffic enforcement designed to raise revenue for the small town’s budget. A similar situation can be found in Morrison, Colorado, as reported here. Nearly half the town’s 2021 budget of $2.6 million was forecast to come from traffic fines. Earlier this month the police chief resigned after notifying town officials that traffic fine revenue was likely to fall $800,000 short. The problem is not a new one — the previous chief, who resigned last year, said “The entire budget was based on traffic tickets. Ethically, I could not do that.” Earlier this year, consultants recommended that the town disband its department and rely on the county sheriff, but so far that suggestion has not been adopted.

Uneven use of Brady lists

October 26, 2021

The Supreme Court’s 1963 Brady ruling requires prosecutors to “turn over exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys, including information that could be used to question the officers’ credibility.” According to this article, prosecutors around the country vary substantially in how they adhere to Brady. One reason is that the court’s ruling did not specify either the procedures to be followed or precisely what information might implicate an officer’s credibility. As a result, some prosecutors and police agencies, but not all, maintain lists of officers whose testimony should be avoided. Also, some include complaints of unnecessary or excessive force among the criteria affecting an officer’s credibility, while others argue that use of force and honesty are separate and independent considerations.

Police vaccinations lag behind public

September 29, 2021

In many jurisdictions, the proportion of police vaccinated against COVID-19 is lagging behind the rate for the general public. The shortfall among police is 20% in NY, 21% in LA, and 28% in San Diego, according to this article. Police in Denver have sued to block the city’s vaccination requirement, nearly 200 San Francisco police employees are seeking religious exemptions, and dozens of Massachusetts State Police troopers have resigned rather than get mandated vaccinations. Meanwhile, at mid-year for 2021, more U.S. officers had died from COVID than from firearms-related and traffic-related causes combined, as reported here

More on Covid & cops

September 7, 2021

Since the start of 2020, 61% of police line of duty deaths have been the result of Covid-19, as reported here. The next biggest category, gunfire, accounts for less than 14%. More and more jurisdictions and police departments are mandating vaccinations for employees, as well as wearing of masks. The Officer Down Memorial Page displays the banner “Getting vaccinated is just as important as wearing your vest and your seatbelt.One chief put it this way — “Knowing that COVID-19 killed more cops last year than all other causes combined, to include traffic accidents and being shot, what kind of Chief would I be if I didn’t consider it to be the singular most critical Officer Safety issue of our time?”

Whether to require police to get vaccinated

August 23, 2021

Lots of jurisdictions are considering whether to mandate Covid vaccinations for their employees, including police. Richmond, VA is requiring all employees to get shots by October 1, but police and firefighter employee associations are pushing for a pause, as reported here. The police union in Tucson is suing the city after it passed an ordinance requiring all employees to be vaccinated, as reported here. This article indicates that Denver has set a September 30 deadline for employee shots, while in New York the NYPD is promising strict enforcement of a mask mandate for officers who aren’t vaccinated. In New York, 68% of adults are vaccinated, but only 47% of NYPD officers.

COPS Guide on civilian oversight

August 6, 2021

The COPS Office has published a report on civilian oversight of law enforcement, available here. Prepared by the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), the report “combines survey data, case studies of oversight bodies nationwide, and a literature review to outline the history of civilian oversight and its spread; define three standard oversight models and discuss their implementation; propose 13 principles for effective oversight; and provide recommendations for each within an effective practices framework.” Links to an executive summary and case studies from 9 cities are available here.

Promising non-police response in Denver

February 9, 2021

The STAR program in Denver, which provides a non-police response to selected incidents, handled 748 calls during its initial 6-month pilot phase, as reported here. No police assistance was required for any of the calls, and no arrests were made. Officials plan to expand from one 2-person team to six teams in the coming year. Interestingly, even with the expansion, they only expect to handle 3% of Denver PD’s calls, far short of the 17% of police calls handled by the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon.