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SB20-217

Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity

Concerning measures to enhance law enforcement integrity, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2020 Regular Session
Subject:
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

Beginning July 1, 2023, the bill requires all local law enforcement agencies and the Colorado state patrol to issue body-worn cameras to their officers and requires all recordings of an incident be released to the public within 14 21 days after the incident. Peace officers shall wear and activate a body-worn camera at any time when interacting with the public. the local law enforcement agency or Colorado state patrol receives a complaint of misconduct. A peace officer shall wear and activate a body-worn camera when responding to a call for service or during any interaction with the public initiated by the peace officer, when enforcing the law or investigating possible violations of the law. A peace officer may turn off a body-worn camera to avoid recording personal information that is not case related; when working on an unrelated assignment; when there is a long break in the incident or contact that is not related to the initial incident; and in administrative, tactical, and management discussions. A peace officer does not need to wear or activate a body-worn camera if the peace officer is working undercover. The bill requires sanctions for failing to activate the body-worn camera. The bill allows for redaction or nonrelease of the recording to public if there are specified privacy interests at stake.

Beginning July 1, 2023, the bill requires the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety to create an annual report of the information that is reported to the attorney general division , aggregated and broken down by state or local agency that employs peace officers, along with the underlying data. Each state and local agency and the Colorado state patrol that employs peace officers shall report to the attorney general division :

  • All use of force by its peace officers that results in death or serious bodily injury;
  • All instances when an a peace officer resigned while under investigation for violating department policy;
  • All data relating to stops contacts conducted by its peace officers; and
  • All data related to the use of an unannounced entry by a peace officer.

The division of criminal justice shall maintain a statewide database with data collected in a searchable format and publish the database on its website. Any state and local law enforcement agency that fails to meet its reporting requirements is subject to suspension of its funding by its appropriating authority.

If any peace officer is convicted of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to any inappropriate use of physical force or a crime involving the unlawful use or threatened use of physical force, or for failing to intervene to prevent inappropriate use of physical force , the peace officer's employing agency shall immediately terminate the peace officer's employment and the P.O.S.T. board shall permanently revoke the peace officer's certification. The P.O.S.T. board shall not, under any circumstances, reinstate the peace officer's certification or grant new certification to the peace officer unless exonerated by a court .

The bill states that in response to a protest or demonstration, a law enforcement agency and any person acting on behalf of the law enforcement agency shall not:

  • Discharge kinetic impact projectiles and all other non- or less-lethal projectiles in a manner that targets the head, pelvis, or back;
  • Discharge kinetic impact projectiles indiscriminately into a crowd; or
  • Use chemical agents or irritants, including pepper spray and tear gas, prior to issuing an order to disperse in a sufficient manner to ensure the order is heard and repeated if necessary, followed by sufficient time and space to allow compliance with the order.

The bill allows a person who has a constitutional right secured by the bill of rights of the Colorado constitution that is infringed upon by a peace officer to bring a civil action for the violation. A plaintiff who prevails in the lawsuit is entitled to reasonable attorney fees, and a defendant in an individual suit is entitled to reasonable attorney fees for defending any frivolous claims. Qualified immunity and a defendant's good faith but erroneous belief in the lawfulness of his or her conduct are not defenses is not a defense to the civil action. The bill requires a political subdivision of the state to indemnify its employees for such a claim; except that if the peace officer's employer determines the officer did not act upon a good faith and reasonable belief that the action was lawful, then the peace officer is personally liable for 5 percent of the judgment or $25,000, whichever is less, unless the judgment is uncollectible from the officer, then the officer's employer satisfies the whole judgment .

The bill allows a peace officer or detention facility guard to use deadly physical force only when necessary to effect an arrest or prevent escape from custody when the person is using a deadly weapon or likely to imminently cause danger to life or serious bodily injury. The bill repeals a peace officer's authority to use a chokehold.

The bill creates a new use of force standard by limiting the use of physical force and limiting the use of deadly force when force is authorized. The bill prohibits a peace officer from using a chokehold.

The bill requires a peace officer to intervene when another officer is using unlawful physical force and requires the intervening officer to file a report regarding the incident. If an peace officer fails to intervene when required, the P.O.S.T. shall decertify the officer.

Beginning, January 1, 2022, the bill requires the P.O.S.T. board to create and maintain a database containing information related to a peace officer's:

  • Untruthfulness;
  • Repeated failure to follow P.O.S.T. board training requirements;
  • Decertification; and
  • Termination for cause.

The bill allows the P.O.S.T. board to revoke peace officer certification for a peace officer who has failed to complete required peace officer training after giving the officer 30 days to satisfactorily complete the training .

The bill requires a peace officer to have an objective justification a legal basis for making a stop contact . After making a stop contact , a peace officer shall report to the peace officer's employing agency that information that the agency is required to report to the attorney general's office division of criminal justice .

The bill requires the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety to conduct, in coordination with the P.O.S.T. board, a post-investigation evaluation of all officer-involved deaths to determine and propose improvements and alterations to training of peace officers to guide future officer behavior.

(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.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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