Larimer County Sheriff: Proposed Bill Puts Officers at Risk
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is not happy about a new police accountability bill being rushed through the legislature.
Wednesday (June 3) State Rep. Leslie Herod introduced the Police Integrity Transparency and Accountability Act. According to 9 News Denver, supporters of the bill say it will "strip immunity from officers for their actions." That means officers will not have loopholes for them to avoid lawsuits if they're trying to follow the law "in good faith," It also will prevent officers from working at other departments after being fired and requires body cameras to be worn all the time and all footage released. Finally, the bill will enact a database that holds information on the use of force complaints and associated demographics.
Leslie Herod said this to The Denver Post:
We need to make changes here at the State Capitol and at statehouses across the country. We will take action to protect black lives, hold law enforcement accountable and ensure that police officers truly serve and protect all of us.”
Sheriff Justin Smith tells 9 News that he was "shocked and appalled" at the actions of the Minnesota Police officers that led to the death of George Floyd. He went on to call the bill being rushed through the legislature "dishonest". He blames the break down of communication between Denver Democrats and local leaders on the ground, "in the field".
The way Smith sees the bill, it discourages officers from intervening in criminal complaints because they're afraid if they do and make a mistake, they will lose everything. He goes on to say that it discourages potential law enforcement recruits from joining the police force.
Then, he said this to Kyle Clark about the bill proposed by State Rep. Leslie Herod:
It felt like to me was that somebody snuck up behind you, Kyle, and put a knife to your throat and said, 'I'm here to negotiate your safety,'
According to 9 News, the bill doesn't need any republican support to pass through the legislature. Smith says it's disingenuous to propose this without even speaking with local leaders "in the field".
Source: 9 News Denver