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Bill to increase public access to police communication denied

Colorado law enforcement agencies have been awarded the freedom to continue encrypting their communication. 

Losing 6-5, the House Transportation & Local Government Committee denied the Radio Communications Policies Of Gov Entities bill on March 4, making this the third rejection of a bill of this kind. 

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A motion was carried to “postpone House Bill 20-1282 indefinitely using a reversal of the previous roll call. There was no objection to the use of the reverse roll call, therefore, the bill was postponed indefinitely,” according to the vote summary

This is the third bill of its kind, this time co-sponsored by Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and Rep. Jovan Melton. 

Bills in year’s past attempted to defend transparency by slowing down the trend toward secrecy,” Van Winkle wrote in an email to The Collegian. “This bill just asks for those who do go fully dark from the public to develop a plan to include media in some form, perhaps by offering a delayed audio feed.”

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said the 2020 bill offers more leeway than past bills. However, there is still a gray area surrounding what characterizes media. 

Police communication is a complicated system with a lot of moving parts, Smith said. It isn’t as simple as receiving communications from one channel; there is a lot of crossover, making it difficult to streamline.

Van Winkle was unable to be reached for further comment regarding the bill being postponed indefinitely. 

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_

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