DENVER — With crime rates rising at an unprecedented rate in Colorado, Governor Jared Polis signed legislation that aims to improve public safety and address the underlying causes of crime, Saturday.

The bipartisan legislation will expand recruitment, retention, and training of a high-quality workforce to support proven crime prevention and intervention strategies, according to a press release from the Colorado General Assembly. The legislation seeks to ensure law enforcement that better reflects the communities they serve.

SB22-145, the Community Safety Investment Act, is sponsored by Senator Janet Buckner, Senator John Cooke and Representative Alex Valdez.

“This new law will provide critical resources to help communities cut down on crime, address law enforcement workforce shortages, and get folks in crisis the help they need to prevent crime from occurring in the first place,” said Sen. Buckner.

According to the Colorado General Assembly, research shows that crime prevention strategies that include collaboration between communities and local law enforcement are most effective. The Community Safety Investment Act will create three grant programs within the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS): 

  • The first grant program will provide $15 million over two years to community-based organizations and local law enforcement agencies. The funds will go towards the implementation of collaborative, data-driven intervention strategies. This includes co-responder programs, violence interrupter programs, early intervention teams and restorative justice services in identified high-crime areas. 
  • The second grant program will provide law enforcement agencies with $7.5 million over two years to help recruit and retain staff, as well as improve training curriculums, including mental health training. 
  • The third grant program – the State’s Mission for Assistance in Recruitment and Training (SMART) policing grant – will provide $7.5 million over two years to help local law enforcement agencies recruit and train officers that better represent the communities they serve. 

“We’re implementing co-responder models and violence interruption programs to prevent crime before it happens and reduce recidivism,” said Rep. Valdez.

The Community Safety Investment Act also establishes a front-end stakeholder crime prevention forum, and provides funding for oversight and administration within the CDPS, which will administer the grant programs.

“Crime in our state has been rising at an unprecedented rate over the past few years,” stated Sen. Cook. “This common-sense legislation will provide much-needed resources to root out crime at its source and implement data-driven strategies to prevent it.”