Incidents in Colorado and elsewhere show the limitations of HB 19-1119 as a tool of transparency, accountability and for building trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. More could be done to ensure the public knows when officers are accused of misconduct or of using excessive force, how those allegations are investigated and whether and how discipline is imposed.
The Greeley Tribune
Some government entities in Colorado are delaying responses to public records requests because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the disruption of day-to-day transparency obligations so far doesn’t seem as severe here as in other parts of the country.
A judge should deny the prosecutors’ motion to keep autopsy reports from the public in the Frederick triple homicide case because the criminal court lacks jurisdiction to decide that question, a media coalition and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition argued.
Colorado would join a dozen other states that require public disclosure of internal records on police misconduct under legislation introduced in the House.
In a year that featured plenty of freedom-of-information lowlights, Colorado lawmakers in 2017 provided a welcome ray of sunshine – a helpful new tool in the never-ending quest for government transparency. Senate Bill 17-040, which modernized the Colorado Open Records Act, was one of many topics featured on CFOIC’s blog and news feed in 2017.
The Colorado Open Records Act defines public records to include “all writings made, maintained, or kept” by government or agency. But are records related to a government-issued cellphone disclosable under CORA if the city has access to them but doesn’t maintain them?