Colorado to evaluate police training, seeks vendor for new ‘ethical decision-making’ course

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DENVER (KDVR) – State government is looking for new ways to train Colorado’s 14,000 police officers on better decision-making while under stress.

In a request for proposals issued this week, the state Department of Law’s Criminal Justice Division said the “Ethical Decision-making Under Stress” trainings would happen over two years as a series of two-day events throughout the state.

“The trainings will aim to enhance peace officers’ self-awareness, analytical skills, situational awareness, and interactive skills to promote procedural justice and ethical decision-making under stress for peace officers in their interactions with the public,” the RFP reads.

In a Friday release detailing his department’s police reform efforts, including the proposed training, Attorney General Phil Weiser cited de-escalation and crisis intervention training in southwest Colorado as a possible model that “has shown tremendous benefits for communities.”

The planned training will require in-person learning with a ratio of one instructor for no more than 40 students in the classroom. Scenario-based training will require one instructor for no more than 10 students and “at least three distinct scenarios.”

Officers will undergo “role-playing/simulation exercises” that “must involve ‘actors’ of varying ethnic/racial demographics,” according to the RFP.

The objective of the training program will be to promote:

1. Safe and effective policing
2. Ethical decision-making under stress: i.e., applying procedural justice principles during stressful encounters
3. Dignity and respect for all
4. De-escalation techniques drawing from procedural justice concepts and, to the extent available, evidence-based practices

State of Colorado Department of Law, Request for Proposals: “Ethical Decision-making Under Stress” Peace Officer Trainings

Among other requirements, the vendor must have at least two years experience providing the proposed or similar trainings. They must be recommended by at least three law enforcement agencies who participated in the coursework.

Proposals are due May 20. The sealed bids will be publicly opened that afternoon on this live stream.

Weiser said his department — within which is the state’s Peace officer Standards and Training (POST) program — is focused on a number of police reform efforts and plans to “to re-evaluate the core competencies of policing and what modules should be taught in Colorado’s police academies.”

Weiser said the department will hire a “law enforcement accountability officer” to ensure certification compliance statewide. POST is also building a database to track fired and/or decertified officers, a result of the sweeping 2020 Colorado police reform bill.

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