Greeley police join other departments in denying access to IA files on officer misconduct

The Greeley Tribune: In a move that is common practice for police departments across the nation, the Greeley Police Department has declined to release files related to any internal affairs investigations conducted on one of its employees.

About a month ago, the city of Greeley settled a lawsuit with a woman who claimed Greeley Police Detective Jared Weeks lied in an affidavit for her 2015 arrest on suspicion of prostitution.

The woman, who was found not guilty of the charge against her in 2016, sued Weeks in civil court. In March, the city of Greeley, without admitting fault, agreed to pay her $150,000.

Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner confirmed Weeks was not fired as a result of the lawsuit. Weeks left his job with the city June 3.

Invoking the Colorado Open Records Act and the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, The Greeley Tribune filed an open records request for further information about Weeks. This included complaints filed against him and other files related to any internal affairs investigations into the detective. Garner said the investigation into Weeks’ conduct in the case still is ongoing, but so far, he said, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.

It is standard procedure not to release information about ongoing investigations, said Gary Barbour, president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police. He said under Colorado law, police departments also are limited in what they can make public about how specific employees were disciplined in specific situations.

On Friday, The Tribune received a letter from Stacey Aurzada, a deputy attorney for the city of Greeley, that stated Garner had considered the request. The letter stated Garner had “determined the release of any internal affairs records including records of complaints would not be in the public interest.”

Garner said making internal affairs files public could have a “chilling effect” on future investigations.

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