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Senate bill mandates peace officer in-service training


[The below letter was sent to Chaffee County local news media by Sheriff Palmer in support of proposed legislation requiring peace officer in-service training. wpp]


Did you know that in Colorado there is no requirement that a peace officer complete any training whatsoever beyond what he or she receives in the academy?  That’s right, no peace officer in this state is required to maintain proficiency with his or her firearm, refresh his pursuit driving skills, review policies on use of force, or receive updates on the latest laws and court case rulings.  And in some agencies, especially in smaller rural communities strapped for manpower and funding, that’s exactly what’s taking place today.

Senate Bill 14-123 is aimed at remedying this glaring gap in public safety by authorizing the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training board (POST) to create rules for annual in-service training requirements for certified peace officers, to suspend certification of officers for failure to complete annual training, and to create a process for lifting suspension of certification when compliance occurs. 

The bill also gives POST greater latitude in denying certification to officers convicted of certain criminal offenses.  In summary, it’s a step toward increasing accountability and ultimately, the professionalism of law enforcement agencies in Colorado.  Both the police chiefs and sheriffs associations in Colorado endorse the measure.

There are costs associated with the passage of this bill.  For one applying for POST certification, the fee increases from $125 to $150.  To sustain the program, the bill proposes an increase in vehicle registration fees of forty cents per vehicle, from sixty cents to one dollar per year.  A small price to pay, in my view, for the benefits to public safety.

If you agree that this is a necessary measure that is cost effective and worthy of your support, please contact your state representative, Jim Wilson, and your state senator, Gail Schwartz, and urge their support. 

Thanks for reading.

Pete Palmer, Sheriff

Chaffee County