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Fort Collins Citizen Review Board 9/13/23

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

by Veronica Olivas


From the City of Fort Collins website: "At the request of the City Manager or the Chief of Police, the Citizen Review Board makes recommendations concerning interpretation of police policies and procedures."


Meeting Summary*

  • Review/Approval of minutes from August 9th

  • Approval of work 2024 plan

  • Review of City Council proposed adoption of absences from board meetings on City Council agenda for 9/19/23

  • Review of training/orientation for members and possibility of CRB going to new police training center for class attendance/observation.

  • Citizen Jason Knievel wanted to ensure the rights of all citizens to protest in peace based on an "altercation" that occurred on 9/6/23 at the Planned Parenthood facility and would encourage police to advise protesters of such in order to keep the peace

  • Emails reviewed reference Curtis C. who requested an investigation of the FCPS Chief and the Internal Affairs department. He was advised on the complaint process and that CRB does not conduct independent investigations.

  • Gary Pacheco also emailed requesting resources for the complaint process and the opinion of the CRB reference a "recent case" in the media. He was advised of CRB function and referred to the "Decision Memos" link.

  • SRO presentation done by Sergeant Andy Ferraro & Corporal Jared Sargent


Other Meeting Notes:

The majority of the meeting was the following FCPS SRO presentation and the minor meeting agenda is covered in the meeting highlights.

The 7 resident member Citizen Review Board, (aka CRB), was established in 1999 per municipal code Section 2-144 which may be viewed @ https://library.municode.com/co/fort_collins/codes/municipal_code?nodeId=CH2AD_ARTIIIBOCO_DIV3ADBOYP2_S2-144CIREBO.

The CRB reviews internal investigations where a police officer is alleged to have engaged in specific types of misconduct or other investigations as requested by the City Manager or Police Chief and then makes recommendations within the scope of their limited authority.


Lt. Yontz requested that the School Resource Officers give a presentation to the CRB. The SRO program began in 1995 as a joint venture between the Poudre School District and Fort Collins Police Services. This presentation adds to the overall training of the committee to enhance understanding of the police department and their duties.


The presentation was given by Sergeant Andy Ferraro and Corporal Jared Sargent who are both seasoned officers and supervisors within the program. There are 11 officers in the program along with 2 corporals and a sergeant. They are divided into 2 teams; an eastside and a westside. Elementary, Middle and High schools all have SROs. They serve 55 schools in the district with a student population of about 30 thousand students. They also lend expertise to charter schools and others upon request.

They discussed their unit mission as an “SRO Triad”; Mentor, Counselor/Teacher and Law Enforcement. The sergeant said they are “leaning” into the teaching portion of the triad this year. The county schools also have SROs from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department. LCSO has 2 officers and a sergeant assigned to their program. FCPS SRO goals are: providing a safe learning environment, Community Policing and creating positive police relations. Police may present in uniform or a “softer uniform” but must wear required police equipment. Students don’t seem to have a preference.

School related trainings are many:

-Annual Youth Police Academy

-Standard Response Protocols

-Run, Hide, Fight

-Lockdown drills

-Response to School Violence: Live interactive scenarios with breakout sessions

-Internet Safety

-Traffic Safety

-Bullying


Police also undergo Annual Training:

-Active Shooter, Driving, Firearms

-Defensive Tactics

-Anti-Bias Training

-Ethics

-Legal & Mental Health Updates

-Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

-Threat Assessment Training including information obtained from the Safe to Tell Info line (18,783 calls received to date for 2022-2023 school year on the info line in the state of Colorado)

-Victim’s Rights & Restorative Justice (referral to School administrators, Center for Family Outreach or juvenile justice system)

-Child Abuse

-Tactical Decision making for schools

SROs are dealing with the same kind of crimes in the schools that are paralleled in the community:

-traffic complaints

-Drugs/Alcohol (increase in marijuana concentrate)

-Assaults

-Gangs

-Harassment

-Sexting

-Sex Assault

-Child Abuse/Neglect

-Criminal Mischief


The SRO Options with Juveniles are many and every effort is made to refer the offenders to diversion programs or using resources to troubleshoot issues with the child.

-Counseling & Mentoring

-Referrals to Diversion Programs: Restorative Justice, Center for Family Outreach

-Criminal Summons: Misdemeanor & Felony Offenses (Do not get involved in low level crimes at schools)

-Juvenile Detention: Flight risk, Risk to community or self, Warrant, Weapons Offenses


Since the 2021 school year, SROs have started collecting data:

-Type & number of contacts i.e., Harassment=138, Drugs=99, Sex Offenses & Theft=79 each, Threat Assessments=33, Weapons on school grounds=30 etc.


**There were 29 different types of contacts totaling 1352 from August 2022 to May 2023.

-Disposition of contacts are also tracked with identifiers such as race, sex & case numbers

-Schools are identified to troubleshoot issues, identify trends etc.

-How SRO was notified: student, parent, administrator, other law enforcement


Sergeant Ferraro said that they want to increase traffic safety around schools in response to recent hazards and set benchmarks for training and education with different populations for the near future.


A video testimonial was shown from a former student named Zoe who experienced a violent sexual assault and subsequent miscarriage. The physician she saw reported the assault to police. Zoe was able to talk to Cpl Jared Sargent who helped her navigate the trauma and legal system albeit a delayed prosecution of the suspect at Zoe’s request. Zoe felt that the justice was restorative for the suspect. She cried in his office and felt that she was able to pursue justice and stay in school with the help of Cpl Sargent. His approach, demeanor and compassion were deeply appreciated by Zoe. Zoe also relayed the story of another female student who also benefitted from Cpl Sargent’s intervention. Both young women asked that Cpl Sargent be allowed to give them their diplomas at graduation. Zoe graduated at the top 2% of her class with the help of Cpl Sargent. She got a Boetcher scholarship to any university in the state. She chose to go to CU which is Cpl Sargent’s alma mater as well. Zoe is in pre-med and is also in a leadership program!


Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 5:30 PM - 222 Laporte Ave, 80521 - Colorado River Room




​Agency Website:

https://www.fcgov.com/cityclerk/boards/citizen-review

Date & Meeting Time:

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 5:30 PM

Members Present:

Michael O'Malley, Michael Ruttenberg, Elizabeth Grant(Vice Chair), Shamera Loose (Chair), Melissa Rosas, Jessica Jones (Staff Liaison), Jenny Lopez (Attorney Liaison)

Members Absent:

Allison Dineen, Sally Lee, Shirley Peel (Council Liaison)

Others Present to Note:

Citizen Jason Knieval, FCPS Sergeant Kim Cochran, FCPS Sergeant Andy Ferraro, FCPS Corporal Jared Sargent, Samantha Driggers (League of Women Voters affiliate)

*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.





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