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Polis issues guidance to local law enforcement on limiting spread of COVID-19

March 25, 2020, 9:13 am

Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday released guidance to local governments and law enforcement agencies on limiting and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis

“I’m grateful to all of our law enforcement agencies who are working to keep Colorado safe during this difficult time. Their service to our communities is critical in addressing the spread of this virus,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We have worked closely with local law enforcement to develop this guidance to protect our first responders and those in custody. We will continue working with counties, municipalities, all law enforcement agencies, and all detention centers as the situation develops to safely reduce our incarcerated population and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The guidance is meant to improve safety for all law enforcement officers and the Coloradans they interact with as well as detention center staff and individuals held in custody.

Guidance for law enforcement includes increased use of warnings or summons in lieu of arrest when public safety is not at risk; taking necessary precautions when interacting with members of the public who appear visibly ill; having jurisdictions implement pretrial diversion and release methods to lower the number of individuals held in custody at any given time; and more.

Guidance for all detention centers includes, whenever possible, practicing social distancing for individuals held in custody and staff; temporarily suspending all visitation; ensuring that no more than 10 people are gathered at the same time in any confined space; developing a protocol to regularly sanitize facilities; screening individuals coming in or being released from detention centers for any COVID-19 symptoms; screening all staff for COVID-19 symptoms; and more. 

The County Sheriffs of Colorado also issued guidance in conjunction with the Governor’s guidance. To the extent that the County Sheriffs of Colorado’s Guidance for Jails and Other Police Contacts is more stringent than the Governor’s guidance, the County Sheriffs’ guidance should be followed.

To learn more about the Governor’s guidance, read the full document here.

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