Gov. John Hickenlooper handed the signing pen to state Rep. Daniel Kagan, who sponsored HB 1032, which guarantees that a lawyer be present for each and every appearance by a minor in front of a Colorado judge. From left to right, front row: Pete Lee, Kagan, Hickenlooper and state Sen. Linda Newell. Back row: Kim Dvorchak, David Blake, Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson.
By Jan Wondra
Cherry Hills Village Mayor Doug Tisdale and state Rep. Daniel Kagan, who sponsored HB1032.
Colorado chalked one up for kids and families, May 21. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law that for the first time guarantees a lawyer be present whenever a child or teen stands before a judge.
“This bill is designed to improve the functioning of our justice system,” said Hickenlooper. “For juveniles, a court date can define their future, either strengthening their ability to make the right choices, or sending them down a path toward a dim future.”
The bill will finally apply the state’s constitutional standards to minors.
“Children across the state of Colorado will no longer go before a judge in shackles, alone, to learn whether they will be locked up or released pending trial,” said state District 3 Rep. Daniel Kagan, who sponsored HB 1032, the house version of the bill. “This is a crucial change, and a great victory for justice. Now we can honestly say that we do more for our children than the Constitution requires. When kids stumble, this can help assure that they won’t be kicked farther to the ground.”
The formal signing in the Joint Public Safety Facility in Cherry Hills Village was done in front of dozens of enthusiastic supporters and public officials, including state Sen. Linda Newell, Cherry Hills Village Mayor Doug Tisdale, Mayor Pro Tem Russell Steward and Kim Dvorchak, executive director of the Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition. It came after a long and difficult battle, which pulled together a coalition across party lines. The bill has been a statewide effort, melding support from Burlington to Durango, Fort Collins to Pueblo.
“This could only have been done in Colorado and with the leadership of our governor,” said Kagan. “The first version of the bill didn’t meet with tremendous enthusiasm. But the governor’s quiet leadership gave us the chance to get it right. I am proud that it came out of the Colorado Judiciary Committee with unanimous support.”
Avon Police Chief Robert Ticer, Cherry Hills Mayor Doug Tisdale, Cherry Hills Village Police Chief Michelle Tovrea and Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson celebrate the bill establishing mandatory training for Colorado law enforcement officers. Photos by Jan Wondra
Mandatory police training codified as law
At the same ceremony, Hickenlooper signed a bill mandating that all Colorado police departments have access to and require professional training for police officers. Until the bill was signed, Colorado was one of only six states that did not require professional training for police and law enforcement representatives.
“Every motorist who’s in an accident, or in a situation where they need law enforcement, now they will know that that police officer has been professionally trained,” said Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson.
Jackson led the effort by the Colorado Police Chiefs Association in support of the bill.
“In a recent situation, one of our officers said, ‘I didn’t even have to think, my training took over.’ He’s alive because of his training,” Jackson said. “It’s the training that keeps the public safe.”
Jackson was joined at the signing by Cherry Hills Village Police Chief Michelle Tovrea and Avon Chief of Police Robert Ticer, who is head of the Colorado Police Chiefs Association.
“This is the most important piece of legislation that I have ever testified to,” Jackson said.
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