Law enforcement officers within the 1st Judicial District work hard every day to keep our communities safe. The men and women who take the oath to protect the public do so with great integrity and excellence. Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police within the 1st Judicial District recognize the ongoing need for purposeful criminal justice reform; however, the public safety implications with Senate Bill 21-062 are alarming.
This bill would cause crime to increase significantly. The correlation between restrictive arrest standards and increases in crime has been proven over the past year. After the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was forced to modify arrest standards to reduce the inmate population during the COVID pandemic, crime increased countywide by 12%. Legislation that makes these restrictions permanent is not acceptable.
Jefferson County should not continue to be the subject of a social experiment that handcuffs law enforcement rather than the individuals who harm and victimize our citizens.
While it is responsible to review and, on occasion, modestly revise the criminal justice system’s incarceration practices, it is irresponsible to remove discretionary decisions from law enforcement officers. Taking away law enforcement officers’ ability to arrest and incarcerate jeopardizes public safety and sends the wrong message to the individuals who commit crimes.
This legislation will not allow law enforcement to incarcerate individuals who belong in jail, which will have negative impacts on public safety. Therefore, the Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police within the 1st Judicial District oppose Senate Bill 21-062.