NewsCovering Colorado


Protesters, commissioners react to police accountability bill moving forward

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 20:24:10-04

EL PASO COUNTY — A Colorado bill that would make big changes in how law enforcement handles the use of force is now moving on to the House.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Senate passed Senate Bill 217 with a 32-1 vote.

Now that the bill is moving forward local people are reacting to it. Protesters in Colorado Springs say it's a step in the right direction and will add accountability to what officers are doing. El Paso County commissioners say originally the bill was a terrible piece of legislation with too many liability requirements for peace officers. They had actually thought about drafting a resolution to oppose the bill, but with the addition of amendments they pulled it off their calendar.

Mark Waller, chair for the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, said, "I think right now where we are is a little bit of a wait and see because we want to...ingest all of the amendments that came out of that...we don't want to create a circumstance where nobody wants to become a police officer. We don't want to create a circumstance where we have no police departments moving forward."

Deja Alexander, who has been an active participant in protests, said, "I'm excited because it's like, at least like in my time, I haven't seen bills actually focused on repairing...the trauma and the situations that the African American population has had to go through and so with this bill I think that it's opening up doors for more positive legislation that could happen."

We did reach out to several local law enforcement agencies on Tuesday. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says due to how quickly changes are being made to the bill Sheriff Elder does not want to speak until the bill is in its final form. The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office says it is also not ready to comment on the bill. We have not heard back from the Colorado Springs Police Department, Pueblo Police Department, or the Teller County Sheriff's Office.