Lesley Dahlkemper

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First step, senate bill 20-217, but not that, the real statutes.

before: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2019-title-24.pdf

basic changes: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_217_enr.pdf

now: https://advance.lexis.com/container?config=0345494EJAA5ZjE0MDIyYy1kNzZkLTRkNzktYTkxMS04YmJhNjBlNWUwYzYKAFBvZENhdGFsb2e4CaPI4cak6laXLCWyLBO9&crid=b6ba5dee-dace-435e-ab4e-bd6d0edf9dba&prid=b47f8950-8b09-4abe-8a22-7a34c782ec0a

I read Colorado Senate Bill 20-217 some time ago but did not reconcile it with current laws until now. Earlier, I was amazed by it and now I am completely overwhelmed. Why it happened and that it happened is huge.

It will have big repercussions in Colorado and it will be watched closely elsewhere. Its biggest impact may be that hiring good people will be even harder and more expensive. But the old guard–management–will be severely challenged. Change will be very difficult in a place like Jefferson County because it is so ingrained. The number of complaints and lawsuits will skyrocket so much that it may be reaching too far. Lawyers will get rich.

The final changes are:

  • Use of force is eliminated, confined, defined, and regulated. Intervention may be required. Detailed.
  • Bodycams are required (Jeffco has them; elsewhere by 7/1/23) and public release is required with a complaint. Strict rules apply to failure, editing, etc.
  • The state department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice is required to create an online database and annual report relating to all contacts* including numerous case specifics. State Patrol and local law enforcement must provide the information.
  • Civil action for deprivation of rights pertaining to police action is allowed. “Qualified immunity is not a defense.”
  • A lot is pushed (back) onto P.O.S.T. (police officer something training); some of it may have teeth. A database including “untruthfulness” and other items is required (reported only by law enforcement, though).
  • Miscellaneous items such as actions prohibited against protesters, police officer accreditation, and definitions.

*My interpretation. Senate bill reads “contacts;” statute reads “All data relating to contacts and entries into a residence, including a forcible entry, conducted by its peace officers, including…” The new law includes a revision to “contact” as an “in-person interaction.” If it is not all contacts it is use of force; resignation while under investigation; contact with forcible entry; and unannounced entries.

By far the biggest implication is the civil action changes. It is not something that is immediately available to the average person. And it is not happening yet.

(2)(a) For all incidents in which there is a complaint of peace officer misconduct by another peace officer, a civilian, or nonprofit organization, through notice to the law enforcement agency involved in the alleged misconduct, the local law enforcement agency or the Colorado state patrol shall release, upon request, all unedited video and audio recordings of the incident, including those from body-worn cameras, dash cameras, or otherwise collected through investigation, to the public within twenty-one days after the local law enforcement agency or the Colorado state patrol received the request for release of the video or audio recordings.

Section 24-31-902 – Incident recordings – release – tampering – fine

How to do it:

  1. Inform LE agency in writing that you complain about the incident, i.e, officer’s conduct. (Can’t find incident definition; I assume that includes every legitimate crime report and communication/contact with a police officer (as defined). The law does not say you need to describe what you are complaining about, i.e., you need the recording to clarify that. 24-31-902, 24-31-903 if in-person contact, 13-21-131 (civil action deprivation of rights), 24-31-303 (untruthfulness and possibly more), 24-4.1-302.5, 24-31-113 (public integrity patterns and practices), 24-31-307 ???, 24-31-309 (LE may make contact for enforcing or investigating law violations). Personally, I will write down somewhere on this site everything I don’t like.
  2. The law doesn’t say a complaint and a request for recordings must be made separately or consecutively. I am going to try it both ways, working backward for recent incidents.
  3. A civil complaint has to have a dollar or injunctive component…

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