LCSO has received many inquiries lately related to the so-called “8 Can’t Wait” reform requests.  As much as I would like to respond to each inquiry individually, I am deeply involved in working with the legislature to assure the Measure to Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity bill is drafted in the most productive manner.  Several positive changes to the bill have been made in recent days.

Below are the 8 principles and my responses to each proposal individually. I hope you find the information helpful.

If you are requesting information on a specific policy, please refer to the LCSO Records Request page.

  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds.
    • Colorado law currently considers a chokehold to be a use of deadly force and can only be used when deadly force is authorized. SB 20-217 seeks to completely ban any technique restricting the ability to breath. We do not train or allow any hold that restricts the ability to breath and train deputies to avoid any restraint techniques that could cause breathing difficulties. We do train in the use of the lateral vascular neck restraint, which does not affect airflow. We are watching the current legislation and evaluating the future use of that alternative neck restraint.
  • Require de-escalation.
    • De-escalation is a philosophy endorsed by the agency for more than a decade. The principle of de-escalation is woven into use of force training as well as in scenario training situations.
  • Require warning before shooting.
    • That has been a legal standard for years. HB 20-217 seeks to codify this in statute.
  • Require exhausts all alternatives before shooting.
    • Policy restricts the use of deadly force to circumstances where there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to a deputy or others.
  • Duty to intervene.
    • Required by policy. State is addressing this through statute in SB 20-217
  • Ban shooting at moving vehicles.
    • By policy, this is considered deadly force and is discouraged except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Require use of force continuum
    • We have accelerated beyond the use of force continuum model to the use of force paradigm model. The paradigm model was created to move officers beyond simple, linear thinking, teaching them to escalate and de-escalate in direct response to conditions and make decisions that can be better articulated.
  • Require comprehensive reporting
    • This is undefined, however LCSO complies with all state and federal reporting laws, participates in additional voluntary CBI use of force reporting and tracks uses of force applications by deputies through professional standards. Additionally, SB 20-217 is addressing additional reporting through amended state statutes.

Sheriff Justin Smith