The start of December was tumultuous for Colorado as lawmakers sought to establish better standards for police officers. In particular, a potential new law drafted by Sen. Rhonda Fields could set requirements for determining when officers are able to return to work following a suspension.
This bill is being drafted by lawmakers who want to improve the standards for police and the public throughout the state. It was put into motion after officer Drew Limbaugh fatally shot Richard "Gary" Black, who was defending the life of an 11-year-old boy during a home invasion. This led to vocal criticism against the officer, who had been involved in another officer-involved shooting just weeks earlier.
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However, more criticism has followed as many believe an officer should not return to the line of duty too quickly after a shooting.
The law would do more than just offer a suggested amount of time off for the officer. Under Fields' new law, the officer in question would be subject to psychiatric care and gun range training.
As Colorado Springs' Police Chief Pete Carey is scheduled to retire on February 1, 64 applicants have officially applied for the coveted position so far. But will a new chief encourage the police to do better?
This is especially worrisome as violent crime is on the upswing. Colorado Springs reported 100 more violent crimes in 2017 than in 2016, including homicides, assaults, and rapes.
It's estimated that only 32% of rape cases nationwide were successfully closed in 2017.
Luckily, property theft and burglaries were on the decline, at least in Colorado Springs. In fact, there were only 1,000 property thefts committed in 2017. For comparison, there were an estimated 2,000 cases of equipment theft in Texas alone during the same year.
The job description lists a few necessary requirements in order to become the new chief of police.
"The ideal candidate will have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminology, police science, public administration or other related fields, though a master’s degree is preferred. The person must also have seven years of supervisory experience, though the city would like the person to have at least four years experience in a command level position," reports The Gazette.
The new police chief, however, will need to do more than what we've seen in previous years. As new standards are discussed in muted whisperings among legislation and loud bellows among citizens, 2019 may just be a year resting on the hinges of change and improvement.