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HB21-1250

Measures to Address Law Enforcement Accountability

Concerning measures to address law enforcement accountability.
Session:
2021 Regular Session
Subject:
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

The bill makes changes to the provisions of Senate Bill 20-217, enacted in 2020, (SB 217) to provide clarity and address issues discovered since the passage of the bill. SB 217 used the term "exonerated", but never defined it; the bill defines "exonerated". The bill clarifies some of the circumstances when a body-worn camera must be operating and provisions related to the release of the footage. The bill requires an officer to comply with the body-worn camera requirements if the officer is wearing a body camera, even though the requirement for all officers to wear a body camera does not take effect until July 1, 2023.

SB 217 required law enforcement to report certain information related to each contact an officer has with a person beginning January 1, 2023. The bill changes the start date of the reporting requirement to January 1, 2022. The bill expands the definition of "contact" to include welfare checks. The bill clarifies and adds to some of the information that must be reported.

SB 217 required the peace officers standards and training (P.O.S.T.) board to permanently decertify a peace officer if the officer failed to intervene and serious bodily injury or death occurred. The bill changes the penalty to a suspension of the officer's certification for one year.

Under current law, there is a civil action that permits suit against employers of local law enforcement officers for misconduct. The bill permits the Colorado state patrol to also be sued via that civil action. The bill also requires the employer to conduct an investigation of an officer prior to determining if the officer acted in good faith.

If a person believes that a law enforcement agency has violated the investigation requirement, the person must submit a complaint to the P.O.S.T. board, which shall refer the complaint to an administrative law judge to determine whether a violation occurred. The administrative law judge shall notify the P.O.S.T. board chair of a finding that a violation occurred. If a violation is found, the P.O.S.T. board shall not provide P.O.S.T. cash fund money to the employer for one full year from the date of the finding.

The bill requires a peace officer to use de-escalation techniques prior to the use of physical force and requires the use of physical force to be objectively reasonable.

The bill requires that prior to hiring a new employee, appointing a new employee, or transferring an existing employee to a position requiring P.O.S.T. certification, a law enforcement agency shall determine if the person has a record contained in the P.O.S.T. misconduct database. If the person is listed in the database and the law enforcement agency proceeds to employ the person in a position requiring P.O.S.T. certification, the agency shall notify the P.O.S.T. board of the hire, appointment, or transfer.

The bill clarifies and adds to some of the information required to be included in the P.O.S.T. board database related to peace officer misconduct.


(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Status

Introduced
Under Consideration

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Bill Text

Sponsors

Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Rep. S. Gonzales-Gutierrez, Rep. L. Herod

Sponsor

Co-sponsor

Upcoming Schedule