Editorial: Internal police probes now open to the public

The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): For years, Colorado law enforcement agencies have routinely ignored or denied requests for internal investigations records involving alleged officer misconduct.

Mesa County is no exception. Back in 2014, then-Sheriff Rebecca Spiess denied the Sentinel’s request for access to internal affairs records of two candidates for county sheriff who had worked or were working in the department.

Spiess cited the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, which had allowed records to be withheld if they were determined to be “contrary to the public interest.”

A new law signed by Gov. Jared Polis last week removes that discretion, placing the conclusions of internal affairs investigations squarely among government records the public has a right to see.

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