On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the Colorado Springs Police Department began the roll out of the Body Worn Cameras that will be assigned to each patrol officer. During the press conference held this morning, a demo of the Body Worn Camera was conducted. Attached to this release, please find a short clip that was recorded during that demonstration. This footage will be typical of the type of video that the cameras can produce.
Note to Media: There is an email address that is contained in the watermark of the video. This is an accountability measure and is not related to the video itself. We are also in the process of being able to condense the video clips, however, on this first clip; there is a small amount of superfluous footage. The first 30 seconds of the video is the portion that was intended for media use.
I am announcing several organizational changes. These changes come after much deliberation over several months that included discussions with the PPA [Police Protective Association] Board, officers in lineups, and Staff. These changes are designed to enhance our ability to respond to calls for service more quickly, maintain adequate officer safety, and reduce the overall wear and tear on employees of the Patrol Operations Bureau. The individuals most directly affected have already been informed of these changes by their respective chain of command.Carey3.pdf
It has become increasingly difficult to maintain our necessary staffing levels. Despite hiring 135 new recruit officers during the past couple of years and another 47 starting next month, we continue to struggle to keep pace with the number of retirements and resignations. While staffing challenges exist across the department, they are currently most critical in the Patrol Operations Bureau. Staffing shortages are related to a variety of outcomes including longer response times, reduced officer safety, and a variety of additional difficulties for employees (e.g. increased overtime, trouble getting days off).
I am announcing several organizational changes. These changes come after much deliberation that included discussions with the PPA Board, officers in lineups, and Staff. These changes are designed to enhance our ability to respond to calls for service more quickly, maintain adequate officer safety, and reduce the overall wear and tear on employees of the Patrol Operations Bureau. The individuals most directly affected have already been informed of these changes by their respective chain of command.
1. Effective September 18, 2016, Impact Team officers and Gang Unit officers will return to patrol sector assignments.
2. Effective January 1, 2017, officers currently assigned to traffic accident investigation within the Patrol Bureau will return to sector assignments.
3. Several alternative call response protocols will be implemented. These protocols will come out soon.
4. Modifications will be made to the types of calls that Community Service Officers are authorized to respond to (e.g. burglary investigations).
5. Effective January 1, 2017, the duties of Motor Unit officers will change. Unit members will split time between traffic enforcement duties and traffic accident investigation duties in support of the Patrol Bureau.
6. The number of citations referred to in the 2016 traffic performance goal for the Patrol Bureau will be removed; it will no longer be in effect for the remainder of this year. Traffic safety remains a top priority for me and for the community, but I understand the additional pressure a specific ticket count has put on officers.
7. Effective January 1, 2017, DUI Unit officers and their sergeant will again report administratively to the Patrol Bureau rather than to the Operations Support Bureau.
8. Specialized unit vacancies will remain unfilled until at least January 1, 2017. There will be exceptions to this general rule if the deputy chiefs and I agree that leaving a particular position vacant will have a severe negative impact on department operations.
My decision to move certain officers from their current assignments back to patrol sector assignments is in no way related to the importance, or the quality, of the work they currently do. We do not have anyone in our department performing unimportant work.
The changes outlined above are made in recognition of two key facts:
1. Patrol Bureau response to citizen generated calls for service is the most essential and time critical component of police service delivery to our community.
2. Our staffing shortages in the Patrol Bureau have reached a critical level. Officers need cover cars when they respond to potentially dangerous calls for service. And quite frankly, we aren’t meeting that need right now. My hope was we’d see a lower volume of calls as we came to the end of the summer, but that has not happened.
The changes above will result in an additional 30 positions being assigned to patrol sector responsibilities (not including supervisors). This means 20 more officers will be in Patrol this month because two positions are vacant; and another 8 in January. Additionally, there are currently 41 officers in field training who will soon be assuming independent patrol sector duties. I think these additional officers, in combination with the other changes I’ve noted, will have a significant, positive impact on patrol operations. Specifically, I want to see that we have more officers available to cover each other on calls. We will evaluate the impacts of these changes and make adjustments as necessary.
In an earlier Chief’s Corner article, I committed to work harder at communicating with all of you about decisions I make and projects we are working on. I know some of you might disagree with these changes. You might have other ideas in mind for which units should be folded back into patrol. I recognize that reasonable people can disagree about what should be on the list. When I made this decision, I did so recognizing that any decision will have downsides. I also know you may have a lot of questions about the timing of these decisions, how they were made, and why they were made.
Over the next several weeks, I intend to write a series of Chief’s Corner articles that further elaborate on the changes I’ve discussed in this article as well as the rationale behind them. I also intend to provide you with detailed information about our recent staffing and budgetary history that you may not be aware of.
I hope this information will allow you to better understand the steps we have taken to address our staffing shortages and help you put our current departmental challenges into perspective. I believe this information will also show that we have been thoughtful and diligent in our approach to the staffing difficulties facing our department. Unfortunately, these are complex issues that cannot be addressed by the mere application of simplistic formulas. I know that all of you are busy with your work, but I hope you take the time to read these upcoming articles and engage in constructive dialogue as together we continue to find creative ways to provide the best level of police service possible to our community. Thank you for what you do.
Chief Pete Carey
The matters to be discussed involve: (1) legal advice on a specific legal matter, developing strategy for negotiators and instructing negotiators.Now, that would seem like the epitome of vagueness and actually raises a lot of questions, because the Council in the past has announced closed session topics in some detail.
The issue to be discussed involves legal advice and consultation with the City Attorney regarding a new litigation matter pertaining to former employees of the Memorial Health System.Here's a notice from May 2015:
The issues to be discussed involve: (1) legal advice and negotiation strategy consultation with the City Attorney regarding a land acquisition matter for Woodmen Road Expansion Phase II, and (2) legal advice and consultation with the City Attorney regarding a lease matter related to Memorial Health System.Here's one from Feb. 8, 2016, that's vague, like the one for Monday's meeting:
The issues to be discussed involve: (1) legal advice and negotiation consultation with the City Attorney regarding the purchase and acquisition of real property; and (2) legal advice and consultation with the City Attorney regarding First amendment questions.(Sort of ironic, huh, that discussion of the First Amendment required the Council to hide their discussion from the public?)
The issues to be discussed involve: (1) legal advice and consultation with the City Attorney regarding settlement of a potential litigation matter; and (2) legal advice and consultation regarding a personnel matter.Then, in April 2016:
The issues to be discussed involve: (1) legal advice and negotiation consultation with the City Attorney regarding a pending litigation matter; and (2) legal advice and consultation with the City Attorney regarding ordinances.Surely the Council could have told citizens which ordinances.
The item to be considered is a personnel discussion regarding Council appointees.From the Aug. 8, 2016, agenda:
The issues to be discussed involve 1) legal advice, consultation and negotiation strategy discussion with the City Attorney regarding a potential acquisition or purchase of railroad real property, 2) legal advice, consultation and negotiation strategy discussion with the City Attorney regarding a potential litigation matter and the purchase of real property for South Tejon Street improvements, and 3) legal advice, consultation and negotiation strategy discussion with the City Attorney regarding a potential litigation matter and a special district exclusion.So the only thing that can be said for sure is that City Council is inconsistent in announcing its executive sessions. Sometimes they're OK with the public knowing what they're up to, and other times they're not. Makes you wonder what's going on in those vaguely announced sessions, eh?
I spoke with City of Colorado Springs Legislative Counsel David Andrews about your question concerning the Executive Session in today’s Council Work Session Meeting. Andrews informed me that our notices follow the statute authorizing Council to meet in Executive Session by identifying the particular matter to be discussed in as much detail as possible without compromising the purpose for which the executive session is authorized.Does Mr. Andrews and City Council really think that there's specificity to this: "legal advice on a specific legal matter, developing strategy for negotiators and instructing negotiators"?
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommended to the Environmental Protection Agency an unclassifiable designation for Colorado Springs for sulfur dioxide (SO2) citing “disparate monitoring and modeling information.”——-ORIGINAL POST 1:37 P.M. MONDAY, SEPT. 12, 2016—————————
As part of this designation, an extensive public process was held that allowed citizens to comment. As part of its evaluation, CDPHE noted, “Historical ambient monitoring in the Colorado Springs metropolitan area and current ambient SO2 monitoring near the Drake Power Plant shows that the 1-hour SO2 NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) has not been violated.”
We support CDPHE in its efforts to gather additional information to determine attainment for Colorado Springs by:
· announcing the shutdown of Drake Unit 5 by the end of 2016; and
· supporting the collection of meteorology data to be used to evaluate ongoing air quality monitoring or used to model air quality.
Over the last few decades we have dramatically reduced SO2 emissions from both our coal-fired power plants and are projecting even further decreases with the improvements we are making now to comply with Colorado’s Regional Haze Rule by installing SO2 scrubbers.
A coalition of citizens who reside in the Pikes Peak region filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) over the US EPA’s failure to properly protect residents from harmful sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution that has been demonstrated to exist in levels in Colorado Springs that can cause asthma attacks and even death. The appeal challenges a determination made by the US EPA in July, 2016 that insufficient data was available to accurately measure the air quality surrounding the Martin Drake Power Plant, and thus an unclassifiable designation was set by the US EPA. This designation, which means the owner of the polluting source will have to do nothing to stop dumping its pollution on residents of Colorado Springs, was made despite several independent studies of the air quality using US EPA’s own computer model and weather data from the nearby Colorado Springs Airport which all showed severe exceedances of US EPA’s air quality standard for sulfur dioxide in the Pikes Peak region.
“The EPA needs to take more responsible action to enforce the SO2 limits set forth in the Clean Air Act, to protect the health of citizens in the Colorado Springs region," said Sam Masias, a named petitioner in the appeal. Jacquie Ostrom, also a petitioner who has asthma and lives to the west side of the Martin Drake Plant demonstrated to be an area with the deepest concentrations of SO2 pollution it emits, stated “those of us already affected by the pollution from this power plant don’t have the luxury of waiting, when air quality around it has already been shown to be in violation of federal health based standards.”
Despite not having conducted any of its own air quality analyses, Colorado Springs Utilities, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the US EPA unfairly dismissed those studies.
The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six common air pollutants, including particle pollution, ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, lead and sulfur oxides. Strong correlation has been proven to exist between sulfur dioxide exposure at high levels for even a short five minute duration, with increased incidences of asthma, shortness of breath, heart attack and reduced lung functioning causing increased hospital visits and even premature death.
According to the American Lung Association, coal-fired power plants, such as Martin Drake, remain one of the biggest sources of sulfur dioxide in the U.S. The plume from a coal-fired plant touches down at ground level during high wind conditions or gets trapped by inversions in the atmosphere. People who live and work nearby these large sources get the highest exposure to SO2.
Mayor John Suthers announced today that Colorado Springs Airport Aviation Director Dan Gallagher will leave his position in early October. Gallagher departs Colorado Springs to accept the position of Director of Aviation Business and Finance with the Massachusetts Port Authority. Current Assistant Aviation Director Troy Stover will serve as Interim Director while a national search is conducted for Gallagher’s replacement.
“It should be no surprise to us given Dan’s success and contributions over the past three years in this role, that larger cities would be interested in acquiring his talents,” said Mayor John Suthers. “Dan has had an incredibly positive impact on the Colorado Springs Airport and has set us on a track toward continued growth and success that I am confident will continue in the future. While we hate to see him go, we thank him for his leadership and wish him the best in Boston.”
Gallagher spent a total of six years at the Colorado Springs Airport, including three in his current role. Prior to taking over as Director, Gallagher was Assistant Director of Aviation for two years, and served as Interim Director for one. In his new role, Gallagher will fulfill similar responsibilities for three airports, including Boston’s Logan Airport, L.G. Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport, with an emphasis on budget, air service and business development.
“The opportunity to transfer my skills to a market such as Boston was one I could not pass up, and one that is an excellent fit for me both personally and professionally,” said Gallagher. “That said, it was a very difficult decision largely because of the enormous opportunity that lays before Colorado Springs Airport based on the support of elected officials, staff and the community. The potential for growth at COS is truly boundless, be it through expanded air service, job creation or commercial development. This has been an incredible six years for my family and the Colorado Springs Airport, and I am excited to continue to watch its success from afar.”
Stover will become interim director in early October, bringing a long track record of success as aviation director with Jefferson County Airport. From 2002 to 2005, Stover served as the airport manager for Jefferson County Airport located in Broomfield, Colo. Stover also worked as the assistant airport manager, maintenance and operations manager and held various administrative and maintenance positions during his 18 years at Jefferson County Airport. Stover has over 29 years of progressively responsible aviation experience and airport management. He served as maintenance manager at COS from 2005 to 2007, operations manager from 2007-2014 and assistant aviation director from 2014 to present.
Body Worn Camera roll-out; we are currently installing the routers that help run the system in the vehicles at Gold Hill. This is going well, however, the vendor (Utility) and Verizon have to work out a certification issue that would allow us to upload the amount of data that we need for the body cameras. This will take approximately 30 days. As a result, we have scheduled the initial roll-out of the 65 cameras at Gold Hill during the week of September 19th. Gold Hill will pilot the system for 30 days. We will then roll-out the rest of the Department.So the department, overseen by Police Chief Pete Carey, is way behind its original time line.