As a result of the death of Mr. George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Golden Police Department (GPD) has received numerous inquiries as to our equipment, policies and training related to various topics such as Use of Force, Biased Based Policing, and Implicit Bias to name a few.
The following information is provided in an attempt to answer the inquiries.
We do not have body-worn cameras. Approximately three years ago, the department extensively evaluated implementing a body-worn camera program and ultimately did not move forward with the project based on it being cost prohibitive. There are many nuances to the use of the cameras that often aren’t considered, such as the high initial cost of the equipment, on-going costs related to data storage, costs associated with performing records redactions of information that is not releasable to the public by statute, hiring additional personnel, overtime dollars necessary to review body camera footage and challenges referencing issues of privacy.
Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (POST)
The POST Board documents and manages the certification and training of all active peace officers and reserve peace officers working for Colorado law enforcement agencies. POST is a unit of the Criminal Justice Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
As mandated by POST, officers attending a Law Enforcement Training Academy, receive a minimum 8 hours of training in biased policing and ethics. POST also mandates officers receive four biased policing continuing education hours every 5 years.
Learn more about Colorado POST.
The GPD is a nationally accredited agency through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and has been since 2008.
CALEA® was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations:
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
- National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)
- Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Our CALEA accreditation requires:
- Initial training upon hire and annual refresher training in biased policing and ethics training biennially.
- Our officers receive on average 1-2 hours of biased policing training annually and 1 hour of ethics training every other year.
- In 2019, a biased policing team was created internally to provide higher quality instruction for the department. The team consists of two sergeants (certified as biased policing instructors through the Fair and Impartial Policing organization), one officer, and two non-sworn members. The team began instructing officers during our month long in-service training program in February 2020.
Learn more about Fair & Impartial Policing – Implicit-bias-awareness Training
There is no POST mandate to provide diversity-specific training outside of biased policing to our officers, however, the Golden Police Department does more than is required to ensure that diversity training and community insight is ingrained in our policing model.
POST requires two hours of community policing/community partnership training in a five-year period. In both 2017 and 2018, we hired an internationally recognized consultant, Matjaz Bren, to provide our officers with a tw0-hour and four-hour cultural awareness class, respectively.
We also partnered with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to participate in a study on domestic violence and sexual assault investigations with a focus of working with female victims of crime. As a part of this study, our criminal investigations unit and crime scene investigators have all received between 13-18 hours of training in this area through the End Violence Against Women Initiative with plans to conduct further department wide training.
We completed a rewrite of our policies on investigating domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. Finally, we partnered with PERF to finalize our Transgender Community Interactions policy with internal training being conducted to provide awareness. PERF, requested a copy of our training materials regarding LGBTQ+ which was written by our LGBTQ+ liaison officer. It should be noted that in the development of our initial Transgender Community Interactions Policy we asked for feedback on the policy from numerous sources to include the Emerging Leaders Group of Colorado’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council, The Colorado LGBT Bar Association and a law enforcement professional who consults on the matter.
Learn more about Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
In 2018, our officers received instruction in a grant funded Procedural Justice Training provided through the Center for Public Safety and Justice (CPSJ) as a part of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Department of Justice program.
Procedural justice focuses on the way police and other legal authorities interact with the public, and how the characteristics of those interactions shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates.
Learn more about Procedural Justice Training
The Pillars of Procedural Justice
- Fairness and consistency of rule application
- Voice and representation in the process
- Transparency and openness of process
- Impartially and unbiased decision making
Frontline officers and supervisors participated in an eight-hour educational procedural justice course. Sergeants and Corporals also attended an additional eight-hour supervisory course, while executive staff attended a three-hour executive leadership course. This training culminated in a three-hour community workshop attended by approximately twenty City of Golden community members and seven GPD officers. The workshop was facilitated by CPSJ staff with the goal of officers and community members learning from each other by focusing on the four procedural justice pillars.
The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
In March of 2015, the Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was released. The Task Force was charged by the President to “examine ways of fostering strong, collaborative relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they protect and to make recommendations on the ways policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.” Within six pillars–building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, training and education, and officer wellness and safety–the task force presented 156 recommendations to law enforcement agencies with the goal of strengthening democratic policing in a diverse society.
All supervisory members of the department were required to read the report. Subsequent to reading the report, our entire command staff broke the report down into sections for cross analysis of what our agency was doing right and what we needed to improve upon.
Crisis Intervention Training
The lack of mental health crisis services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers serving as first responders to most crises. A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, community-based approach to improve the outcomes of these encounters. In over 2,700 communities nationwide, CIT programs create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illness and their families. Through collaborative community partnerships and intensive training, CIT improves communication, identifies mental health resources for those in crisis and ensures officer and community safety.
GPD set a goal of having 100 percent of our officers certified in CIT.
- A department CIT Coordinator was appointed (police officer), who is also the Course Director for the Jefferson County Regional CIT.
- In 2017, 49 percent of our officers were CIT certified. As of today, 91 percent of our officers are CIT certified.As continuing education and coaches classes become available through the regional CIT team, we consistently attend.
- As a part of CALEA accreditation, we complete annual mental health refresher training. Between 2017 and 2020, officers received on average, 1-2 hours of instruction in this area.
- 62 percent of our officers are also currently certified in Mental Health First Aid USA’s eight-hour course. Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.
Learn more about Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs | NAMI: National Alliance
The Co-Responder model of criminal justice diversion generally consists of two-person teams comprised of a police officer and a behavioral health specialist to intervene on mental health related police calls to de-escalate situations that have historically resulted in arrest, and to assess whether the person should be referred for an immediate behavioral health assessment.
GPD in collaboration with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Wheat Ridge Police Department applied for and received a one-year grant allowing us to offer a co-responder program to citizens. GPD has partnered with the Jefferson Center to provide for follow-up support, field responses and/or intervention for citizens in Golden who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Learn more about local mental health services
In 2020, GPD partnered with various agencies across Jefferson County to assist and identify issues regarding those experiencing homelessness. In April, an officer was appointed to this position and is currently in the beginning phases of implementing the program. Currently, he is working on developing and collecting a statistical data base that will be utilized by members of the department and shared with the regional effort. He is also working on identifying best practice policy and procedure for the department, partnering with various community members including the faith based community in order to do so.
The officer works directly with people experiencing homelessness in the Golden community, to assess their needs. In some cases, he is able to meet immediate needs. In others, he refers them to additional resources, to assist them in order to try and obtain housing. He also works with the regional navigation team to develop programs, procedures and assist those experiencing homelessness county wide.
Use of Force
Our use of force training program is extensive.
- POST requires officers to receive a minimum of 62 hours in arrest control techniques, 64 hours in firearms, and there is no requirement for Taser training in the Law Enforcement Training Academy.
- We send our new non-certified officers to the Jefferson County and Lakewood Combined Academy, and they exceed the minimum hours requirement with 88 hours trained in arrest control techniques, 92 hours in firearms, and 8 hours in Taser.
- POST mandates 12 hours of continuing education in arrest control techniques, firearms and driving with a minimum of 1 hour dedicated to each of those areas. The state also requires 4 hours of proper holds and restraints training in a 5 year period.
- CALEA accreditation requires annual use of force training in lethal weapons and Tasers and biennial training in less lethal weapons. All instructors are certified in the area they train to include handgun instructors, rifle instructors, less lethal impact munitions instructors, oleoresin capsicum aerosol instructors (pepper spray), Taser instructors, and arrest control instructors.
- Our arrest control program consists of a blend of Krav Maga Worldwide and Pressure Point Control Tactics (PPCT) training. PPCT was the first subject control system designed based on tactical, legal and medical research. PPCT focuses on two primary areas: controlling low-level resistance with fingertip touch pressure to nerve pressure points and controlling high-level resistance with defensive counter strikes and the baton, which produce motor dysfunctions and controlled stuns.
- Annually, all officers are required to review our use of force policy.
- Officers have received an annual average of 10.5 hours in firearms training and 2.5 hours in Taser training since 2017.
- Officers receive an annual average of 4 hours in arrest control techniques, with the baton being incorporated into that training every other year.
- One hour of oleoresin capsicum aerosol (pepper spray) training is received every other year.
- In 2019, we implemented Less Lethal Impact Munitions training during our in-service training program with 1.5 hours being taught in both 2019 and 2020.
The Golden Police Department has implemented a robust process to review police use of force incidents. The process requires that all incidents of use of force be recorded in our computer software program thus making them trackable. The process includes a board of members who review the incident and related policies to determine if the actions of the member were within or outside of policy. The board is comprised of the Deputy Chief, Patrol Captain, the Support Services Captain, one non-sworn member, and subject matter experts from the disciplines of driving, firearms, and use of force. After review by the Board the packet is forwarded to the Chief of Police for final review. All incidents found to be in violation of policy are addressed by the division head and/or the member’s direct supervisor. As warranted, training and/or corrective action is taken. Dependent on the review process, the matter may be reassigned for investigation as an internal affairs complaint to be conducted by the Professional Standards Unit. Annually, the department conducts an analysis of its use of force incidents, policies and practices.
Should an officer be involved in a deadly force encounter, the incident will be investigated by the Jefferson County Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). The team is comprised of highly trained and skilled investigators, working under the authority of the District Attorney and comprised of personnel from participating law enforcement agencies within the district and the District Attorney’s Office. The role of the team is to fully investigate incidents in which any law enforcement officer within the Judicial District uses deadly force, or attempts to use deadly force, against a human being while acting under the color of official law enforcement duties. At the request of the involved agency’s CEO, the CIRT may investigate other use of force situations resulting in deaths, in-custody deaths or other non-traffic situations involving injury or death where an outside investigation may assist in ensuring the integrity of the case.
Upon completion of the CIRT investigation the District Attorney makes the determination as to whether or not the incident was a criminal law violation as well as what if any charges are to be filed.
Learn more about the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)
POST mandates two hours of de-escalation training in a five year period.
CALEA accreditation does not have a specific de-escalation training requirement, however, it is understood through our department’s policy allowing for only reasonable use of force to accomplish lawful objectives that de-escalation will be integrated into the training program. To that end we have officers certified in the Surviving Verbal Conflict De-Escalation Training Program, the PERF developed Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) Training program for defusing critical incidents, and the Ti Training Virtual Simulator based here in Golden, which simulates scenarios wherein officers have to make a judgement as to the level of force to be used, if any. Officers received two hours of de-escalation training in 2017 and 2019, and another 1.5 hours in 2020.
Personnel Early Warning System
The Golden Police Department utilizes an early intervention system to alert behavior pattern(s) or a combination of events that may be indicative of unsatisfactory performance or misconduct. The system allows a supervisory review of the events that have occurred in order to evaluate if there is a need for an intervention. The alerts are triggered by a member’s involvement in use of force incidents, vehicle accidents, internal affairs investigations and vehicle pursuits. The program is intended to keep attention on the members well-being and provide resources before bad behavior occurs. The program is evaluated on an annual basis.
Internal Affairs Process
The Golden Police Department can receive commendations or complaints via letter, email, phone, in person or by other means. All commendations and complaints are recorded in our computer software program, analyzed by the Professional Standards Sergeant and assigned for investigation accordingly. Completed investigations are then reviewed by the employees division head for completeness and recommendations. The investigation file is sent to the Chief of Police for a final review and determination of training and/or corrective action. Annually, the Professional Standards Unit completes a statistical summary of complaints and internal investigations which is made available to the public through the department page of the City of Golden website.
Legal Update Training
Officers are required to receive annual legal update training.
- Annually, the Colorado District Attorney’s Council provides a case law and legislative update training course that is approximately four hours long.
- We also incorporated a case law video series into our training program consisting of 6 to 8 minute-long videos from a well-known police legal advisor and national trainer Eric Daigle of the Daigle Law Firm. From 2017 to 2019, this was delivered weekly to our officers. Beginning in 2020, we moved to delivering this every other week.
In addition, to our internal training programs, officers attend numerous external training classes every year beyond those already listed. They often focus on leadership courses with attendance at the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, FBI-LEEDA leadership institute trilogy, FBI National Academy, and Denver University’s Public Safety Leadership Development Program amongst others. Several instructors have completed a Train the Trainer program focused on adult learning.
Recruitment and Selection
We actively seek out the best candidates from all walks of life. We attend numerous job fairs on college campuses as well as community celebrations throughout the region, some of which include the FBI’s Recruiting Women in Law Enforcement event, Denver PrideFest, Colorado Black Arts Festival, and Cinco De Mayo Festival.