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Colorado community's police department policies questioned

The Aurora, Colorado Police Department has been under scrutiny for practices that are said not to comply with federal standards. In particular, Aurora's policy of what is called the prosecuting of false complaints is deemed as a method to stifle all criticism of the police department's actions.

Aurora City Code Sections 94-380, 94-381, and 94-390 will make citizens liable "for the reporting of false and malicious allegations." This language raises concerns because not everyone is in agreement about what "false or malicious allegations" may be. One University Professor feels that this language blatantly allows police to retaliate against individuals that complain about police conduct.

When someone, for example, is pulled over for a traffic offense, circumstances leading up to the issuing of a traffic citation may be viewed differently depending on whether you are the arresting officer or the person that received a traffic ticket. If that person cited then complains about the way the ticket was handed out, he may then be subject to other sanctions under the Aurora City Code.

Even more serious, this policy may have led to police officers remaining on the force and not being prosecuted for their own crimes. Complaints against two police officers were apparently ignored and even discarded over a several year period until both officers were eventually charged for alleged sexually exploited others.

The U.S. and Colorado Constitution provide a number of rights to individuals charged with crimes. Those charged have the right to retain an attorney and be allowed to tell their side of the story in a court of law. Individuals should be allowed to do this without the prospect of facing additional charges.

Source: The Denver Channel, "Aurora police internal affairs policies do not comply with justice department best practices," by Keli Rabon, Feb. 14, 2013

  • Learn more about legal options concerning traffic violations charges at our Denver lawyers' website.

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