Positive Changes in Colorado Policing

Positive changes have taken place in Colorado policing. These improvements are due to SB 217, the Centennial State’s landmark police reform package. In June 2020, Colorado passed SB 217. As a result, Colorado became the first state to end qualified immunity (QI). In a recent piece, KUNC explores SB 217’s impact on Colorado policing. 

As KUNC notes, some law enforcement officers are not pleased with SB 217. However, others view it as an opportunity for growth. Meaning, there are good cops eager to improve Colorado policing. 

Maris Herold and Joe Pelle are two such examples. Herold is Boulder’s police chief. Pelle is Boulder County Sheriff. Both the chief and the sheriff want to establish trust between the police and the communities they serve. Now that QI is gone, the police can start to earn that trust. 

One example of positive change in Colorado policing: the quality of recent recruits. 

“As calls for reform have grown louder,” KUNC writes, “many police departments are starting to pursue a different cast of officers with a goal of reducing misconduct and improper use of force.” Without qualified immunity, Colorado can hire better cops. 

Boulder Police Chief Herold has a goal of recruiting 30% women officers. Chief Herold tells KUNC that “studies have shown that female officers do not use force as often as their male counterparts.” 

In addition, Herold seeks to hire cops “with a diversity of perspectives.” Furthermore, she hopes to “reach community members who want to be a part of bringing change” to Colorado policing.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle echoes Chief Herold’s sentiment. He, too, wants to improve Colorado policing now that QI is out of the way. He knows better cops means more accountability. And more accountability increases public safety. 

Plus, he’s already seeing great results. 

“We’ve actually had a couple of good classes come through the academies,” Sheriff Pelle tells KUNC. “And we picked up some good folks and really diverse groups, you know, lots of women, lots of people of color, people that look like our community. And that’s important, too.”

Read the entire article on positive changes in Colorado policing here.