Colorado has recently launched a website that grants the public access to a database of information on police officers, including their certification and employment status, in an effort to boost accountability and transparency.
The website is home to a database managed by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (POST). It allows members of the public to search for any police officer in the state to view their certification status and whether they were convicted of a crime or charged with prior misconduct.
POST Board Chair and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said the database would ensure that an officer who has been previously fired for misconduct will not be hired again.
“When law enforcement officers do things that are wrong, they could commit crimes, and they get decertified, we put them on a publicly available database. Anyone can search it,” Weiser explained. “When other officers are fired for cause, for having done something that’s wrong, they are also on this list, so they don’t get hired unwittingly again.”
The database was created following police reform legislation in 2020 and 2021 to make officers’ certification, compliance with training requirements and employment status transparent to the public.
Officer actions and behaviors that can be listed on the database, according to the POST website, include “untruthfulness”; three breaches of POST training requirements within 10 years; revocation of POST certification; any termination for cause; resignation or retirement while under investigation for misconduct or after an incident that leads to an investigation within the next six months; and being the subject of any criminal investigation.
Weiser said the database would improve transparency along with other reform measures adopted by the state, such as requirements for the use of body-worn cameras by police officers.
“Colorado has passed legislation not just to build this transparent database, but to provide body cams in all cases, so we know what’s happening. Then, when an officer is accused, it’s not a matter of ‘believe me or don’t believe me,’ it’s let’s look. Sunlight is the best of disinfectants,” Weiser told KOAA.
Officers can request a review of their database entries and have information removed after presenting new evidence through a request process.
Weiser said all officers are notified of changes to their profile on the database.
“They get notice. They have a right to be heard. We have a process to consider all these decertification actions, and officers can come forward and tell their side of the story,” he said.
According to a statement by the attorney general’s office, the database will be updated monthly. Because it relies on information submitted by individual law enforcement agencies, the database may not be wholly inaccurate.