DENVER, CO – The House today passed two bipartisan bills that will improve public safety and prevent crime.
“This bipartisan legislation focuses on proven strategies such as co-responder models and violence interruption programs to prevent crime before it happens and reduce recidivism,” said Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. “With crime rising across the nation as a result of the pandemic and the economic disruptions that followed, we’re taking action to support our law enforcement departments and help them recruit, train and retain a high quality, diverse workforce that reflects the communities they serve.”
SB22-145, the Community Safety Investment Act, is sponsored by Representatives Alex Valdez and Perry Will and passed by a vote of 52-13. The bill will establish critical crime prevention programs and address workforce shortages in law enforcement. Research shows that crime prevention strategies that include collaboration between communities and local law enforcement are most effective. The bill will create three grant programs within the Department of Public Safety:
- The first grant program will provide $7.5 million over two years to community-based organizations and local law enforcement agencies to implement collaborative, data-driven intervention strategies such as co-responder programs, violence interrupter programs, early intervention teams, and restorative justice services in identified high-crime areas.
- The second grant program will provide law enforcement agencies with $3.75 million over two years to help recruit and retain staff, as well as improve training curriculums, including mental health training.
- The third grant program – the State’s Mission for Assistance in Recruitment and Training (SMART) policing grant – will provide $3.75 million over two years to help local law enforcement agencies recruit and train officers that better represent the communities they serve.
The bill also establishes a statewide crime prevention forum, and provides funding for oversight and administration within the Colorado Department of Public Safety which will administer the grant programs.