February 4, 2019
Denver, CO – The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee today voted 3-to-2 to pass SB19-091, a bill sponsored by Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) and Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley) that would require law enforcement agencies to develop policies to support and aid police officers involved in use of force incidents before and after they occur. The bill now heads to the committee of the whole for consideration.
“We need a process in place to prevent tragedies like the loss of Captain Richard Black Jr., and that is exactly what this legislation is designed to do,” said Senator Fields. “It provides recommendations, not a mandate, for what to do before and after a traumatic incident to ensure that the public is safe and that our law enforcement officers are ready to protect and serve again.”
This bill would require agencies to focus on pre-incident training and preparation, as well as offer aid to the officer involved at the scene of the incident. Further, it puts an emphasis on comprehensive post-incident support, including temporary leave or duty reassignment. Agencies would have to review their new support policies every other year to ensure the most effective services are in place. Departments would also be able to apply for and receive a grant from the peace officer mental health support grant program in order to develop and implement their policies.
Police testimony and information gathered from public safety mental health professionals and scientific research show that providing training, support services, and reintegration resources can promote positive outcomes following use of force incidents.