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18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team
Colorado Senate Bill 15-219 requires each law enforcement agency to develop protocols for participating in a multi-agency team or involving another law enforcement agency in the investigation of a peace officer-involved shooting. SB 15-219 further requires that these protocols be posted on each agency's website or otherwise made publicly available.
As is stated in SB 15-219, including outside agencies in an investigation promotes and encourages a level of transparency and objectivity that provides increased credibility to the final outcome. Including other agencies eliminates any biases, whether real or perceived which, in turn, strengthens public confidence in the outcomes of such investigations. Public confidence is critical to the overall efficacy of the criminal justice system.
While the SB 15-219 is new, our approach to officer-involved fatal or near-fatal incidents is not. The 18th Judicial District’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) has been in place since 1996 and is the product of the cooperative efforts of the members of the 18th Judicial District CIRT and is the result of the team’s experience and training.
This protocol was designed and implemented to assist the law enforcement agencies of the 18th Judicial District. Investigations of officer-involved fatal or near fatal incidents present a unique set of circumstances, which make them more complex than routine investigations. The pooling of resources involved with this protocol can make manpower intensive situations less draining for each individual agency.
When activated, the CIRT will respond, investigate, and present the facts, in the most expeditious manner possible. The Team should perform so that it will be viewed by both the participating agencies and the public as a highly professional, unbiased, fact finding team, working together to resolve difficult situations.