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State Senator wants to regulate how soon officers return to work after shootings

Posted at 11:57 AM, Dec 10, 2018

COLORADO – Colorado Senator Rhonda Fields is planning to introduce legislation to regulate how quickly police officers return to duty after their involvement in an officer-involved shooting. Fields says the legislation would be a statewide system to govern what happens with an officer after a shooting takes place.

Last July, an armed homeowner was shot and killed by an Aurora police officer. 73-year old Gary Black was a decorated veteran who was defending his grandson from an attack inside their home. Black had a hearing issue and did not respond to the officer to put down his weapon when they entered his home.

About a month earlier, the same Aurora police officer had been involved in another deadly shooting. The officer was returned to regular duty while the investigation of whether he was legally justified in using deadly force in the June incident was still ongoing.

While that’s not routine, officers can be put back on the job even though an investigation into a shooting is not complete and guidelines for doing that vary from one department to another.

Fields believes the Aurora officer was returned to work too soon after the June shooting. She says she wants to make sure everything possible is done before an officer returns to duty, including speaking to a psychologist if it’s needed.