COLORADO — There is at least one thing Republicans and Democrats in Colorado seem to agree on - they want the rising crime rate in Colorado to go down.
The Community Safety Investment Act (SB22-145) would create $30.5 million worth of grant money for law enforcement agencies around the state.
On Monday, Republican Senator John Cooke and Democratic Senator Janet Buckner introduced the bipartisan piece of legislation.
"Senator Buckner was working on a bill for law enforcement, I was working on one, and so over the months we both came up with our concepts and our ideas... And then we kind of melded the two concepts together," said Sen. Cooke.
According to Colorado Crime Statistics, the average monthly crime rate was 14% higher in 2021 than it was in 2019.
The bill would create three grant programs:
- A crime intervention grant program to help agencies identify high-crime areas and implement intervention strategies.
- A recruitment, retention, and tuition program to help agencies address workforce shortages and increase/improve training, both physical and mental health training.
- A grant program to help train more diverse officers who represent the community.
"Where I live is so diverse, we want to make sure that the law enforcement looks like the community, and I think that's really important. I know as a woman of color myself, I have a police chief in my district who is a man of color and we've had this discussion about wanting to make the work force look like the community they serve," said Sen. Buckner.
The $30.5 million dollars would come from the state's General Fund. The lump sum would be broken up into two years, so roughly $15 million in grant money the first year, and another $15 million in the second.
20% of the grant money would be required to go to rural areas in Colorado.
"One thing that I constantly heard was - Well this is just another Front Range program and it's only going to go to Denver/Boulder area or the Front Range and so I was very concerned about the rural communities," said Sen. Cooke.
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