Centennial City Council Law Enforcement Update FAQs
June 22, 2020
Question: If the liberals keep stripping away your ability to enforce the law, how are you going to protect the law-abiding citizens?
Answer: The Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide professional law enforcement services based on best practices, policies and procedures that comply with all guidelines as required by law.
Question: What is the priority of law enforcement in Centennial on de-escalating situations whenever possible? Is this part of policy, training, etc.?
Answer: When taking into consideration the large number of law enforcement- citizen interactions each year in the United States (estimated at over 385 million with 11 million of those resulting in arrests) what you describe as a tendency is actually an anomaly. Because of the egregious nature of those well publicized incidents, it can be overlooked that those inappropriate interactions make up an extremely small percentage of law enforcement interactions. The Sheriff’s Office places an emphasis on providing excellent training to staff. De-escalation is incorporated into both that training and Sheriff’s Office policy.
Question: How does the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office ensure that all residents and those who travel through Centennial are treated with respect, without profiling and without certain populations being treated with suspicion because of their color or ethnicity? Also, how does the Sheriff’s Office address issues of racial profiling?
Answer: Biased policing by members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is not tolerated. The Sheriff’s Office has annual training about anti-biased policing as well as sound policies that meet and exceed best practices related to anti-biased policing.
Question: How frequently are officers required to qualify with their weapons and participate in de-escalation training? How many years of training are required before officers are fully qualified to interact with the public?
Answer: Before a patrol deputy can work on their own they have to complete a 21 week 840 hour basic Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) law enforcement academy, a 4 week orientation academy at the Sheriff’s Office and then a 16 week field training program (on the job training) with a veteran deputy assigned as a field training officer.
Question: What are the requirements to join the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy?
Answer: In addition to minimum job requirements deputy candidates must pass a written general knowledge test, oral interview, scenario exercises, a writing test, suitability test, physical agility test, psychological and medical exam.
Question: Do potential officers undergo any psychological testing or evaluation before hiring or after hiring?
Answer: Yes, deputy candidates must pass psychological testing.
Question: Is there a police union and how easy is it to fire an Officer?
Answer: The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office does not have a police union. The best practices disciplinary policy for the Sheriff’s Office allows for discipline up to and including termination when appropriate.
Question: Are complaints against officers subject to civilian review?
Answer: Complaints against officers are not subject to civilian review.
Question: Are officers held accountable for good or bad behavior?
Answer: Well trained staff and supervisors hold other agency members accountable. The Sheriff’s Office has well established policies and procedures for handling complaints and commendations.
Question: How can Centennial citizens support the majority of good police officers while simultaneously working toward common sense Justice Reform in our Sheriff’s Department? Will there be a task force/committee involving residents, city staff and representatives from the Sheriff’s Department?
Answer: The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is currently creating a Centennial Public Safety Advisory Group. This group will help the Sheriff’s Office identify specific public safety related concerns in the community as well as providing community input on Sheriff’s Office operations and how to improve public safety in Centennial. Apply HERE.
Question: Does the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office respond to mental health and alcohol/drug abuse cases with personnel trained in these specific areas to help diffuse the situation and if possible, keep the cases out of criminal justice system?
Answer: Yes, deputies receive this training and the Behavioral Health Response Program has licensed clinicians who respond to these types of calls.
Question: Is there a database that records officer dismissals due to misconduct and how is this information shared with other agencies, especially during the hiring process?
Answer: There is currently no such database in Colorado. During the hiring process a thorough background investigation is completed on all candidates which would reveal terminations for cause.
Question: 1. Can residents read the rules the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office operates under for rules of engagement, use of deadly force, when to use force, when to use de-escalation techniques, what training is required and if any community service training is required? Where are these rules found?
Answer: Yes, our use of force policy and training policies are on our website. Read them HERE.
Question: What is the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office’s planned response to the new legislation (both national and state) and citizens’ demands for law enforcement reform and refocus?
Answer: The new legislation will require some modifications to policies and procedures. However, the Sheriff’s Office takes great pride in being a progressive, accredited law enforcement agency so most issues requiring reform in other departments around the state and country don’t exist at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.
Question: What has/will the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office do to prevent social injustice and racism within the organization?
Answer: Biased policing by members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is not tolerated. The Sheriff’s Office has an annual training about anti-biased policing as well as sound policies that meet and exceed best practices related to anti-biased policing.
Question: How does the Sheriff’s Office respond to protests in Centennial?
Answer: The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office responds to protests with well trained professional staff who will protect the rights of individuals to peacefully assemble and exercise their 1st Amendment rights.
Question: When, if ever does the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office deem it appropriate to use tear gas and rubber bullets?
Answer: Use of less lethal munitions are appropriate in situations where deputies are being met with physical force or aggression. The Sheriff’s Office use of force policy is available HERE.
Question: What alternatives are in place for non-violent drug offences?
Answer: Once in the criminal justice system there are diversion and sentencing options available for non-violent drug offenses however those programs are not under the purview of the Sheriff’s Office.
Question: How is the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases prevented in the jail?
Answer: The detention facility has a very good infectious disease guidelines that incorporate many different methods to control the spread infectious disease.
Question: How do we address hiring and training practices, department goals and procedures related to citizen interactions, clarity of mission related to citizen interactions as well safety and security, so all citizens feel they are being equitably treated when interactions occur?
Answer: The Sheriff’s Office works collaboratively with community partners to relieve the need for deputies to be involved in situations that are not directly related to law enforcement. A great example of this is the co-responder program where licensed mental health workers respond to calls for service with Patrol deputies to help resolve a situation and provide resources and follow up care.
Biased policing by members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is not tolerated. We have annual training about anti-biased policing as well as sound policies that meet and exceed best practices related to anti-biased policing . View our training policies HERE.
If anyone has comments or concerns about bias related to a specific incident with the Sheriff’s Office, a supervisor will take the report and may be able to address it. If not, it will be investigated through our complaint process which may include a formal internal investigation. File a complaint online HERE.
Question: Is de-escalation training required for all officers? What percentage of an officer’s training is focused on de-escalation?
Answer: De-escalation training is mandated and held annually. A specific percentage of time spent on de-escalation can’t be identified because de-escalation is also incorporated into several other classes including arrest control and firearms.
Question: What percentage of officers are assigned body worn cameras?
Answer: All patrol officers are assigned body worn cameras.
Question: What demographic information is collected about a person when an officer stops or arrests someone in Centennial? Who reviews this data to measure the effectiveness of anti-bias training within the office? Does the office have any plans to share this (anonymized) information with the community? If so, when and how?
Answer: SB 20-217 mandates the collection of demographic information which the Sheriff’s Office has collected for many years as part of the anti-bias policing policy. That report is reviewed both internally and through the accreditation audit process. The Sheriff’s Office is currently working on a plan for sharing that information on our website.
Question: Since the recent Aurora city ordinance introduced banning the use of chokeholds and carotid controls, what is the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure regarding the use of chokeholds or carotid controls?
Answer: The ACSO already had policies in place prohibiting chokeholds and carotid control hold, however the ACSO continually reviews its policies to ensure they meet best practices standards.
Question: What is ASCO’s role in the reopening of Elijah McClain’s murder?
Answer: The ACSO has no involvement or role in the death of Elijah McClain.
Question: Does the Arapahoe Sheriff Department training include the Israeli Defense Forces training?
Question: What kind of training is offered/mandated for law enforcement officers to ensure that they have the highest possible degree of emotional control in very stressful circumstances? How is that degree of training measured and validated?
Answer: The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has yearly in-service training related to de-escalation, effective communication, and mental health. Additionally, the Mental Health First Aid course is being put out to all staff, the majority of Patrol deputies have been Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certified, as well as use of force training. All of these training courses and opportunities include instruction on maintaining control over not only the situation but deputies’ maintaining self-control.
Question: How is the public assured that review of an officer or situation is independent and how will everyday citizens be engaged to participate in this review?
Answer: No changes are planned for ACSO’s participation in the 18th Judicial Critical Incident Response Team. Incidents involving a criminal investigation into a law enforcement officers actions require experienced and well-trained law enforcement professionals and prosecutors to complete an appropriate investigation. An ad hoc committee of community members to perform such an investigation would not be appropriate.
However, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is currently creating a Centennial Public Safety Advisory Group. This group will help the Sheriff’s Office identify specific public safety related concerns in the community as well as providing community input on Sheriff’s Office operations and how to improve public safety in Centennial. Apply HERE.
Question: How does Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office plan to address "Defund" or "Dismantle" law enforcement?
Answer: Unlike other parts of the Denver area and across the nation, there have been no direct conversations about this as it relates to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. The fact remains that there will be a need for law enforcement in Centennial and Arapahoe County. However, the Sheriff’s Office works collaboratively with community partners to relieve the need for deputies to be involved in situations that are not directly related to law enforcement. A great example of this is the co-responder program where licensed mental health workers respond to calls for service with Patrol deputies to help resolve a situation and provide resources and follow up care. In most instances, deputies have a limited role in these calls for service. If the circumstances are appropriate, the mental health workers may transport people in crisis to an appropriate facility for mental health treatment.
Question: How will SB20-217 concerning qualified immunity impact officer retention and recruitment?
Answer: There are many intricacies to SB20-217 and while we can speculate on any number of possible impacts to retention and recruitment, we can’t be certain the exact impact at this point. We anticipate the current negative perception of law enforcement combined with legislative changes will make it more difficult to recruit and retain qualified individuals. Only time will tell.
Question: Where are the audits made by CALEA published for the public? Why is there no reported data since 2017?
Answer: The CALEA audit reports are not currently published however the ACSO is evaluating a plan to do so. The 2018 and 2019 data are being collected and validated. The ACSO has gone through several software changes in the past 3 years including an entire Records Management System (RMS) replacement which has made data extraction for apples to apples comparisons very challenging.
Question: Out of 10.5% of the black population in Arapahoe County, 36% of use of force occurrences were with black individuals, how is this being addressed?
Answer: Demographic percentages related to use of force incidents don’t indicate if bias-based policing is occurring. The deputies don’t get to choose the demographics of the individuals involved in use of force incidents. Biased policing by members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is not tolerated. We have annual training about anti-biased policing as well as sound policies that meet and exceed best practices related to anti-biased policing.
Question: How will community concerns about biased officers be addressed?
Answer: Concerns about bias related to a specific incident with the Sheriff’s Office should be reported to a supervisor who can take the report and may be able to address it. If not, it will be investigated through our complaint process which may include a formal internal investigation. Sustained violations result in appropriate discipline.
Question: How do officers interact positively to build community trust while on patrol, especially with youths?
Answer: The Sheriff’s Office deputies interact with the community on a regular basis in any number of ways. Patrol deputies frequently stop to chat with kids and have stickers, plastic badges, baseball-style cards with our K9s, coloring books, and a number of other items to hand out. They stop at lemonade stands, may play some basketball or pass a football, or just stop to talk with some young folks. Our school resource officers are constantly interacting with youth during the school year and often focus on youth interactions when school is out. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office has a very active Explorer program and just recently implemented a Mounted Patrol that includes youth 16 years and older.