Fitness test suspended
Female officers of the Colorado Springs Police Department who have been denied the privileges of working their regular shifts and wearing the uniform returned to full gear and duty status on Monday.
Under an agreement reached with the city, a dozen female officers no longer face disciplinary action for failing to pass the Physical Abilities Test, or PAT, which is the subject of their federal discrimination lawsuit. The women allege that the PAT, first used as a litmus test for employment in 2014, doesn't take into account age and gender, and requires certain tasks that aren't related to the job, such as pushups, which favor men.
The city has also agreed to withdraw any performance improvement plans issued to the plaintiffs due to the PAT, pending the lawsuit's outcome or a resolution agreed to by the city and plaintiffs. Moreover, any plaintiff who was placed on light duty solely as the result of enforcement of the PAT was restored to full-duty status. — PZ
Shooting probe taking time
Mayor John Suthers planned a "moment of silence" on Tuesday for victims of a triple homicide that unfolded on Halloween, after a witness who called 911 to report a man with a rifle was told that open carry is legal in Colorado. The call was given low-priority status, and the man, Noah Harpham, 33, proceeded to shoot three people. He was gunned down at Wahsatch and Platte avenues shortly after.
Springs Police issued a news release last week saying the 911 dispatcher followed procedure. That has raised questions among some citizens about how a man carrying a gun and two gas cans can be considered low-priority. Suthers has told local media he has "no appetite" for changing the city's open-carry law.
Meanwhile, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office issued a release saying four Springs police officers returned fire when fired upon by Harpham, who was armed with an AR15 rifle, a .357 revolver and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and struck Harpham once, fatally. The officers, two of whom were trainees, were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
"We are compiling our report to hand over to the DA's Office and can't speak to how long it will take for their ruling," spokeswoman Jackie Kirby says via email. — PZ
Academy sued for records
The Air Force Academy was sued in federal court last week by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation over its failure to disclose documents sought by MRFF in 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act.
MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein called it a "terribly tragic day indeed" when the academy doesn't uphold transparency and other tenets that it pledges to instill in its cadets. Weinstein is a 1977 academy graduate.
The MRFF sought records about Weinstein and his family members and David Mullin, a longtime MRFF client and former professor of economics at the academy, regarding an order for a COIN (counter insurgency) allegedly given by the former dean of faculty, Brig. Gen. Dana Born, against the MRFF and Weinstein.
While the academy has released some records, the majority hasn't been produced, Weinstein says.
The academy declined to comment, citing pending litigation. — PZ
A T-shirt depicting a burka-covered Statue of Liberty with the phrase, "Don't let this happen America" was removed from a sales stand at Fort Carson last week, after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation protested.
The MRFF reports that it learned of the shirt from a client at Carson, where it represents 200 military members and staff. MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein has asked the Army Inspector General to investigate. — PZ
'ColoradoCare' makes ballot
An initiative that would provide health care for all Colorado residents will appear on the November 2016 ballot, according to an announcement Monday from ColoradoCare, which circulated petitions for the measure.
While 98,492 valid signatures are required for a statewide initiative to make the ballot, ColoradoCare submitted 158,831 signatures, according to a release.
The measure would replace premiums, deductibles and most co-pays Coloradans pay with a payroll deduction that covers all the costs of "Platinum Plus" health care for every Colorado resident. ColoradoCare says the measure — which would require employees cover 3.33 percent of the payroll deduction and employers, 6.67 percent — would save about $5 billion as compared to what Coloradans pay now. — PZ