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80AFF7E5F4417BD1872582790064F892 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For HB18-1404

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date Apr 24, 2018      
Location HCR 0112



HB18-1404 - Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole


12:22:54 PM  
The committee recessed.
12:36:35 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representative Coleman, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 18-1404, concerning public disclosure of a completed peace officer internal investigation file.  Representative Coleman discussed the need for transparency in law enforcement investigations, and discussed the merits of the legislation.  He also explained the effect of the bill, and discussed the stakeholder process that crafted the bill.  Representative Williams joined Representative Coleman in support of the bill.

12:42:00 PM  

Mr. Don Sisson, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Sisson explained that law enforcement investigations are already subject to public investigation, and discussed the methods by which the evidence becomes public. Mr. Sisson discussed some cases involving law enforcement investigations, and explained how current law protects privacy and balances transparency. Discussion ensued regarding the cases that Mr. Sisson referenced, and certain court rulings that bear on the issue.

12:55:46 PM  
Mr. Sisson responded to questions regarding court opinion concerning the right of privacy for police officers, and the process involved when an officer is charged with a crime, particularly the internal investigation. He responded to further questions regarding the types of information that law enforcement seeks to protect from public view during internal investigations. Discussion returned to jurisprudence associated with the issues addressed by HB 18-1404.
01:12:35 PM  
Mr. Sisson responded to questions regarding the types of information that would be subject to public release under HB 18-1404, and safeguards against groundless or frivolous information requests associated with law enforcement internal investigations.
01:25:23 PM  

Chief Michael Phibbs, representing the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Ed Brady, representing the Colorado Municipal League and the City of Arvada, and Mr. Ron Sloan, representing the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, testified in opposition to the bill. Chief Phibbs explained why the bill is overly broad, and noted certain abuses that might take place under the bill. He also addressed questions raised during earlier testimony. Chief Brady discussed the administrative and economic burdens that HB 18-1404 would place on law enforcement. Mr. Sloan explained how the bill will have a deterrent effect on conducting quality internal investigations, and result in lack of cooperation from law enforcement. He responded to questions regarding potential solutions to the problems addressed by the bill. Discussion ensued regarding the mechanics of law enforcement internal investigations, and police non-cooperation with investigations.

01:48:27 PM  
Mr. Matt Hader, representing Commerce City and the Colorado Municipal League, testified in opposition to HB 18-1404. He discussed the merits of current law concerning disclosure of law enforcement internal investigations, and explained how the bill abrogates due process. Mr. Hader responded to questions regarding safeguards in the bill, and who has access to internal investigation reports without a court order.
01:58:40 PM  

Ms. Denise Maes, and Ms. Rebecca Wallace, representing the ACLU, testified in support of HB 18-1404. Ms. Maes explained that revealing the findings and evidence of an internal affairs investigation currently requires a lawsuit, and addressed assertions made by the opposition. She spoke in support of transparency. Ms. Wallace discussed the problems that HB 18-1404 seeks to address. Committee members received a fact sheet about jurisprudence associated with internal affairs investigation disclosure (Attachment A), and a report from the University of Denver entitled "Access Denied" (Attachment B). Ms. Wallace responded to questions regarding policies in place in other jurisdictions similar to those put in place by the bill. Discussion ensued regarding implementing the processes created by the bill at the municipal level rather than the state level. Discussion followed regarding transparency, and the denial of access to law enforcement internal investigations.

02:18:09 PM  

Mr. Dan Montgomery, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. He discussed law enforcement's aversion to negative publicity and lawsuits, and explained the optimum way to conduct an internal affairs investigation. Mr. Montgomery responded to questions regarding difficulties that police departments may face in abiding by HB 18-1404, and the benefits that law enforcement may experience as a result of the bill.  Mr. Montgomery responded to further questions regarding internal recommendations.

02:32:53 PM  
Mr. Vic Ament, representing himself, testified in support of HB 18-1404. Mr. Ament explained the benefits of creating transparency for internal investigations by the bill. Ms. Susan Green, representing the Colorado Independent, testified in support of the bill. She discussed the disclosure policies in place for internal affairs investigations in Denver, and the events that led to the adoption of these policies. Ms. Elizabeth Steele, representing Common Cause, testified in support of the bill. She discussed the benefits of transparency in police matters, and suggested that there are privacy safeguards in place in the bill. Mr. Jeff Roberts, representing the Colorado Freedom of Information Act Association, testified in support of the bill. He discussed the transparency and integrity aspects of the bill.
02:46:50 PM  

Mr. Steve Zansberg, representing the Colorado Independent, testified in support of HB 18-1404. Mr. Zansberg discussed the need for law enforcement to maintain the public trust, and explained how the bill will assist in this regard. Mr. Zansberg responded to questions regarding a police officer's expectation of privacy.

02:52:46 PM  

Representative Coleman explained the effect of amendment L.003 (Attachment C).



02:54:52 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.003
Moved Melton
Seconded Lee
Benavidez
Carver
Herod
Lundeen
Melton
Roberts
Weissman
Willett
Wist
Salazar
Lee
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection


02:56:09 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 18-1404, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Melton
Seconded Herod
Benavidez Yes
Carver No
Herod Yes
Lundeen No
Melton Yes
Roberts No
Weissman Yes
Willett No
Wist Yes
Salazar Yes
Lee Yes
Final YES: 7   NO: 4   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS






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