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Regulating Law Enforcement Use of Prone Restraint

Concerning regulating the use of prone restraint by law enforcement.
2024 Regular Session
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

The bill prohibits peace officers from using prone restraint to subdue a subject, except in cases in which the use of deadly physical force is justified. The bill requires officers who use prone restraint to immediately reposition a person to facilitate breathing once the person is in handcuffs or the person's hands are tied. The bill applies a similar prone restraint prohibition and recovery position requirement to guards and peace officers employed in detention facilities. The bill requires the development of a model state policy on the risk of positional asphyxia and law enforcement use of prone restraint when making arrests or preventing escapes. The bill lists elements of the model policy and directs state and local law enforcement agencies, including those that supervise detention facilities, to adopt their own written policies and training requirements based on those elements. Law enforcement agencies that have not adopted their own policies on or before July 1, 2026, must comply with the state's model policy. The bill requires reporting of policy violations. The bill creates a private right of action against a law enforcement agency that fails to adopt prone restraint policies, train officers to adhere to those policies, or report policy violations. The bill also creates a private right of action against individual peace officers and guards employed in detention facilities who violate policies on which they've been trained, and authorizes the peace officers standards and training board to impose related disciplinary measures on peace officers. Current law subjects a peace officer who uses unlawful force or fails to intervene in the unlawful use of force to criminal and civil penalties as well as disciplinary measures through the peace officers standards and training board (P.O.S.T. board). The bill defines prone restraint as a use of force.

The bill requires law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies and procedures concerning use of the prone position and prone restraint by officers certified by the P.O.S.T. board; sheriff's deputies, regardless of P.O.S.T. board certification; and Colorado state patrol officers. Law enforcement agencies must post the adopted policies and procedures on their publicly accessible websites or make them available upon request. The policies and procedures must address how and when to request or render medical aid for use of force involving prone restraint; when to get medical clearance for use of force involving a prone restraint when there are injuries or complaints of injuries; how and when appropriate medical aid within the scope of a peace officer's training should be rendered for any use of force involving prone restraint; and how and when to transition a person placed in a prone position into a recovery position that allows the person to breathe normally.

The bill requires law enforcement agencies to review the adopted policies and procedures at least every five years and, beginning on or before July 1, 2026, to implement and train peace officers on their contents. The P.O.S.T. board must make its training on the use of the prone position available to all law enforcement agencies in the state.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details