Expanding Public Safety in the Greatest Tradition of the West: Volunteerism

A Win in the Kill Committee for Colorado's Volunteer Peace Officers

On Wednesday the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee--the Democrat controlled committee notorious for killing bills brought by the conservative opposition--let the bill we sponsored with Sen. Kent Lambert live. SB16-111 creates a task force to address whether and how the Colorado Mounted Rangers will integrate into the statewide Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) program.

Since their founding in 1861, the Colorado Mounted Rangers have acted as Colorado’s historic law enforcement agency. Today the Rangers contribute to public safety in a broad range of communities as they assist local law enforcement, provide support in disaster relief, and bolster emergency medical service (EMS) and search-and-rescue operations across the state, contributing more than 50,000 unpaid service hours annually.

In 2012 the volunteer organization was designated as the state’s official law enforcement auxiliary but, to date, have not been included in the P.O.S.T. program, the state level board required to certify every peace officer that serves in the State of Colorado. There has been conversation for several years among interested parties about the necessity of this certification for CMR. This bill will advance that conversation to conclusions and action.

Peg Ackerman (Colorado Police Chiefs Associations), Jana Locke (Colorado Department of Public Safety) and Rep. Lundeen before the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

Peg Ackerman (Colorado Police Chiefs Associations), Jana Locke (Colorado Department of Public Safety) and Rep. Lundeen before the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

Col. Ron Abramson, State Commander for the Colorado Mounted Rangers, says P.O.S.T. certification will provide definitive standards and training for Rangers and increase state level accountability for the Colorado’s largest auxiliary.

In its current form, Senate Bill 111 will address the challenges that the Colorado Mounted Rangers, law enforcement, and government agencies face when approaching the question of CMR’s integration in the state authorized P.O.S.T certification program.

Last week SB111 passed second reading in The House and will be up for Third Reading and final passage this morning.

Public Lands: Local and Federal Control, Who's in Charge?

After we argued with the Democrats last week in the House about the need to address complaints from local officials that they’ve been bullied by  federal officials, we pushed for an amendment to the “Public Lands Day” bill, SB16-021, and won the majority vote. The amendment offered clarifies that “partnership” between local and federal authorities acknowledges the unique capacity for local officials to “positively influence matters of public safety.” Watch part of the debate below.

This win in the House is the product of arguments we made about the need to restrain federal overreach. In testimony on SB160, a bill we previously reported to you about, we heard stories of County Sheriffs and Fire Chiefs that have been blocked from their role to keep the public safe. In spite of stories of local officials being “bullied” by federal officials, the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee, in yet another act of allegiance to big government, killed SB160 on Monday last week.

However, the clarification we achieved with the amendment to Senate Bill 21 accomplishes some of the work we sought to do with SB160. The amendment reminds all parties invested in managing Colorado’s public lands of the importance of local input and action. But the conversation doesn’t end here. We will continue to advocate for proper local authority of public land access and management, and will fight to prevent federal intimidation of local authorities.

Thank you for staying engaged.

It is an honor to serve.

Posted on May 2, 2016 .