The number of law enforcement officers who lost the right to wear a badge in Colorado jumped during the past four years, say data at the Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training Board reported by the Rocky Mountain News. Since 2002, 102 officers were blacklisted from being cops in Colorado, compared to a total of 20 revocations in the six years prior to that. The spike in numbers was the result of a change in the law in 2001 governing police certification, said the board. “The intent of the POST board, which pursued this legislation, was to encompass misdemeanors that were crimes of moral turpitude – the type of offense that makes a difference about a person’s character,” said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, chairman of the board. “Can you imagine not being able to revoke a license for a third-degree sex assault, which is a misdemeanor? You ought to be able to get rid of that person very quickly.”
Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman sees the POST certification and revocation rules as a sort of filter for the department’s recruitment efforts. “The real value is if the POST board says you are decertified, it basically makes the statement that we don’t want you to be a police officer in the state,” said Whitman, who also serves on the board. Before the law changed, only officers convicted of a felony faced revocation of their law enforcement certificate, which is required to be a sworn officer in the state. The new law added 44 misdemeanors to the list of offenses that can result in revocation or being denied a certificate. Colorado shares the names of officers who have had their licenses revoked with other states, in essence blacklisting that person from working in law enforcement in most of the nation.