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CSPD announces plan to meet state law and increase transparency between department and community

Colorado Springs Police Department CSPD
Posted at 11:15 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 10:41:59-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Police Department announced new protocols on Monday to increase transparency within the Colorado Springs community.

CSPD announced the intent to release Significant Event Briefing Videos within 21 days of events like officer-involved shootings and use-of-force incidents. The department said the policy went into effect on Feb. 1 after significant research and a joint initiative with the Transparency Matters project.

Editor's note: It is Colorado law (HB21-1250) for agencies to release body-worn camera footage 'within 21 days from the date of the complaint of misconduct to within 21 days from the date of the request for the video recording.' CSPD says there policy will be to release the video without requests being submitted.

This initiative by CSPD appears to be the first attempt by any law enforcement agency in the state of Colorado to release consistent videos to the public with facts pertaining to a significant event. Lieutenant Pamela Castro with CSPD said the new protocol could put pressure on other agencies to enact similar procedures.

"Our goal is to provide a clear context of what happened in these events and have that be based on facts," she said. "You can really only have the best conversations about what policing looks like now and in the future if everybody knows the actual facts."

Castro said in today's time trust within the department has to be built upon conversations and information. The new procedure comes amid continued national conversation around policing and law enforcement accountability.

Colorado Springs received national attention in 2019 after 19-year-old De'Von Bailey was shot in the back and killed by Colorado Springs Police. Chauncey Johnson, a friend of Bailey's, has been an activist in the community ever since, calling for more police accountability and transparency. He said the new CSPD protocol is a baby step in the right direction but said the department has more work to do to build trust within the community.

"My question to them is why didn't we get this in 2020 when we were asking for this with De'Von Bailey?" he said.

The briefing videos will be edited by the department to include elements like body camera footage, 911 audio, and/or any evidence of weapons. Castro said the videos may include narration from police to include the context of the incident. Johnson said he wants to remain hopeful that the videos from the department will give context and that all necessary information on future incidents will be included.

"If you want transparency in the community, you need to make sure that the community is able to have some control as well. Not just you have the narrative and we listen," he said.

A significant event defined by the Colorado Springs Police Department as:

  • Any officer-involved shooting where CSPD personnel fired a weapon in the performance of their duties, not including non-injury unintentional discharges or shootings of animals;
  • Any use of force event that necessitates the response of the Deadly Force Investigation Team; or
  • Any other police encounter deemed appropriate by the Chief of Police.

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