Loveland and Fort Collins police refuse release of officer conduct documents

Fort Collins Coloradoan: During the Loveland Police Department’s annual award ceremony Friday, former police Sgt. Justin Chase received applause for his almost 20 years of service to the department.

But Chase, 45, wasn’t there.

With a trial behind them and the close of the internal investigation into his actions during an arrest he was involved in Nov. 5, 2016, Loveland police officials are still refusing to say whether Chase violated any policies that night.

It’s still unclear whether his retirement on Jan. 29 is tied to the investigation, which concluded Jan. 2.

In its refusal of the Coloradoan’s open records request for information about the investigation and Chase’s status as an employee, Loveland police cited the officer’s privacy interests, the department’s desire to maintain confidentiality and its desire to protect witness statements.

The letter said the public may have a “general curiosity and that this matter may have a propensity for media attention,” but “these limited interests do not outweigh the multiple legitimate reasons to withhold the requested document.”

Similarly, Fort Collins Police Services refused this month to release reports from a third-party investigation that found two police employees violated department policies. In its refusal of the Coloradoan’s open records request, the city cited attorney-client privilege and said it also weighed individuals’ privacy interests, keeping ongoing investigations from being compromised and the public purpose in releasing the records.

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