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Weld County Investigative K9 Report Released

Changes made by LDPS

Post Date:12/27/2017 1:28 PM
Earlier this year, after negotiations with the ACLU and four tenants of The Suites Supportive Housing Community regarding searches of the residences, the City of Longmont agreed to share the Weld County Sheriff’s investigation report once personnel matters concluded. Those matters concluded yesterday, so the City is releasing the report today.

Longmont Department of Public Safety (LDPS) regrets playing a role in the search of apartments of the residents of The Suites on May 10, 2017. LDPS is working, and will continue to work, to ensure that its police officers conduct themselves in keeping with Longmont police policies and the Fourth Amendment.

The changes made by Longmont Police include:

  • Reiterating and continuing to clarify how and when canines are used.
  • Reinforcing and continuing the process for documenting how and when consent is obtained.
  • Reinforcing and continuing the need for communication with supervisors as outlined in department procedures.

City of Longmont officials have personally apologized to the residents involved in the settlement. City of Longmont officials have also invited the involved police officers and the affected residents at The Suites to participate in a restorative process to repair the harm, rebuild trust, and restore relationships. The City of Longmont, in partnership with the ACLU, will also facilitate a community forum to help our community rebuild trust.

The restorative process and the community forum are in the process of being scheduled.

 

Background

On May 10, 2017, the Longmont Police K-9 unit, at the request of the Longmont Housing Authority, searched tenant apartments located in The Suites Supportive Housing complex.

On June 6, 2017, the Longmont community and the LDPS learned that a second round of searches was planned for June 7, 2017. Upon learning of the pending searches, the Chief of Public Safety and Command Staff put a stop to any further participation by the K-9 unit and started gathering information about the prior searches on May 10.

To ensure an impartial review of the incident, the City of Longmont requested the Weld County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an independent investigation. The Weld County investigation found that the procedures used to establish consent in this instance were not consistent with LDPS standards, and the LDPS initiated an internal personnel investigation. During the course of the internal investigation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado notified the City of Longmont that it was representing several tenants and was questioning the legality and use of the K-9s, the circumstances of use, and whether consent was obtained before entering the tenants’ apartments.

The LDPS proactively reached out to the ACLU in an effort to resolve the legal issues and begin to repair the harm. Through a mutually agreed upon mediation process, the City settled the ACLU’s and tenants’ claims for a payment of $210,000. As an organization, we wanted to open a dialogue so we could address their concerns about the K- 9 searches, repair the harm, build trust, begin the healing process, and make sure that we addressed the tenants’ claims and concerns.

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