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Saturday, July 11, 2020

City supports police officers while complying with state law

The city is grateful for the service of all who work to keep our community safe. The State of Colorado’s new law affecting police departments (SB 20-217) has generated many questions and concerns across communities in Colorado, including our own. The city remains committed to compliance with the new law.    

Supporting the city’s police officers and upholding the new law are not mutually exclusive. City leadership will find appropriate ways to support its law enforcement officers while complying with the new law.

City Council issued a letter to all employees on June 30 supporting its police officers and in part stated, “Please know, the city intends to defend and indemnify its police officers for any liability incurred by them, including any judgement or settlement entered against them … unless the police officers are convicted of a criminal violation for the conduct from which the claim arises or otherwise precluded by law. As necessary steps are taken to implement requirements directed by the law we will remain willing to listen.…”

Like every community in Colorado, the city is just beginning to understand the impacts of the new law. The details and implications of it can be confusing. The law states that a city must cover the cost of a judgment entered against an officer, unless the officer is convicted of a crime.  If an officer is found to have not acted in good faith and reasonable belief that their action was lawful, the law requires the officer share a portion of the liability.

The city will always stand behind officers who act in good faith, while holding accountable those who don’t. It is important to build and maintain trust between the community and those who have sworn to protect and serve them.

The city will continue to engage with community members and identify what safety looks like for everyone. Complying with this new law is one of many critical enhancements that the city and the Police Department continues to make while ensuring a peaceful, safe, just, compassionate and equitable community. 

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