(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is setting a new standard for releasing videos of significant events to the public in an effort to increase transparency, the department said.
According to a press release sent out by CSPD, the department is announcing a new process to increase transparency with the community by releasing Significant Event Briefing Videos, which comes after an eight-month period of research, meetings with professional partners, and reviews of other agencies around the nation.
“We are at a critical juncture in policing, where agencies should be taking steps to show what happened in significant events that occur between police and community members,” said Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. “It is vitally important that we inform the public about the facts of an event by being transparent in the release of evidentiary video whenever legally possible… I strongly believe it is what is expected by the community and our own officers, as conversations regarding law enforcement actions must be based on the facts of a specific situation.”
CSPD said this initiative is the direct result of the Transparency Matters project that CSPD commissioned in January of 2021, to “conduct a comprehensive assessment of the police department’s use of force,” states their website.
“Facts of an event do not change, and talking about them with our community and our officers will improve everyone’s ability to have honest conversations about what policing looks like in Colorado Springs, now and in the future,” added Vasquez.
CSPD said they believe their department is the first agency in Colorado
to have a procedure that establishes the consistent release of a video which will provide the community with a thorough explanation of the facts regarding a Significant Event. A Significant Event is defined in CSPD’s policy as:
- Any officer-involved shooting where CSPD personnel fired a weapon in the performance of their duties, not including non-injury unintentional discharges or shootings of animals;
- Any use of force event that necessitates the response of the Deadly Force Investigation Team; or
- Any other police encounter deemed appropriate by the Chief of Police.
CSPD said they will release a video to the public within 21 days of a Significant Event, while ensuring they are compliant with existing Colorado state laws that set parameters on how law enforcement agencies provide information on serious incidents.
CSPD added that there are certain legal restrictions, such as a court order, that could prevent the release of the video.
“We hope that in most Significant Events, the 21-day time frame will enable us to share information with the community while respecting the ongoing legal processes,” CSPD said in the press release. “The video can include 911 call audio, body-worn camera footage, and evidentiary photographs to help explain the circumstances of the significant event.”