House Strengthens and Clarifies SB-217 Provisions

DENVER, CO– The House today advanced Reps. Leslie Herod and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez’s bill to clarify and strengthen certain provisions of SB20-217, the sweeping police accountability reform bill signed into law last year. The bill passed on Second Reading.

“The work of improving law enforcement-community relations, ensuring police accountability, and protecting Black lives did not begin and end with SB-217,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “Today, after a careful and thorough stakeholding process, we moved to strengthen existing law to ensure the realities of what goes on during law enforcement and community interactions meet the legislature’s expectations. We still have a great deal of work to do, but I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”

“It has been almost a year since Colorado made history by ending qualified immunity and passing a sweeping police accountability reform measure,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales Gutierrez, D-Denver. “The bill we advanced today represents a necessary next step that will clarify language in the law and ensure it is meeting our goals of better policing and safer communities. I’m grateful for the months of input and dialogue with law enforcement representatives, community partners and colleagues in the legislature that led us to this point.”

HB21-1250 makes changes to the provisions of law enacted by SB20-217 to provide clarity and strengthen the progress made to date on its implementation. The bill clarifies requirements related to the instances when body-worn cameras must be operating to include welfare checks. It directs the Division of Criminal Justice to create a single form to streamline the reporting requirements for peace officers, which will now include whether an ambulance was called to the scene of an incident, whether there was a forcible entry into a residence, and the number of officer-involved civilian deaths.

Among other provisions, HB21-1250 explicitly outlines a peace officer’s due process rights and allows an administrative law judge to participate in an internal affairs investigation. The bill defines what it means for a peace officer to be exonerated from a charge of misconduct. It extends the elimination of qualified immunity to the Colorado State Patrol and it prohibits employers from preemptively determining whether a peace officer acted in good faith before such action in question even occurred, closing a loophole in SB20-217 that was taken advantage of by the city of Greenwood Village last year.