Colorado law’s ‘loopholes’ keep unknown number of police internal investigations secret

Fort Collins Coloradoan: A police accountability law passed in 2019 was lauded for making Colorado law enforcement agencies’ internal affairs investigation reports public for the first time.

However, a Coloradoan investigation found that loopholes and specific language in the law render an unknown number of these reports inaccessible to much of the general public, the media and government watchdogs seeking to learn how Colorado’s police are policing themselves.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ signature put the law into effect on April 12, 2019, making agencies’ completed internal affairs investigation reports a matter of public record. However, a request for any such report must identify a specific incident of alleged misconduct by an on-duty officer involving a member of the public. If a request is missing an element such as the name of the officer or involved party, the department holding the record can deny the request.

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