On May 22, 2019, in a remarkably unpublicized manner, Governor Polis signed Senate Bill 19-166, paving the way for peace officers with findings of untruthfulness to have their Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certifications revoked.
Revoking an officer’s POST certification makes that person unemployable in law enforcement in Colorado and many other states.
The difficulty in maneuvering this law is the varying levels of due process afforded to Colorado peace officers. Officers in some jurisdictions, mostly “civil service” cities, have a high level of due process.
These officers are afforded many opportunities to contest the validity of an allegation of untruthfulness before the agency renders a final decision. However, officers and deputies in many other jurisdictions are subject to “at-will” employment, leaving them will little or no chance to clear their names.
Additionally, agencies are held to a low standard to determine whether or not an officer was untruthful in a particular instance.
That standard is “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that the agency only has to believe it was “more likely than not” the officer was being untruthful.
With this new law, the standard that must be met to strip an officer of his POST certification is “clear and convincing evidence.” This standard is higher than the “preponderance of the evidence” standard the agency uses. This creates a situation where an officer may have been found to be untruthful by their agency but cannot be stripped of his POST certification.
Colorado POST is currently developing their rules and procedures to implement this new law.
The attorneys of Front Line Law are experienced in dealing with administrative investigations by police and government agencies against their employees. We stand ready to help if you find yourself being accused of being untruthful. Call us as soon as early as possible so we may begin guiding you through the complicated and difficult process of defending your interests and preserving your career.