DENVER (KDVR) — During its third reading, HB21-1251 passed with a majority of Colorado’s Congressional body voting in favor of the chemical restraint-focused legislation. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
If the bill achieves Senatorial approval, the decision to use chemical restraints would be restricted entirely to the emergency medical service provider onsite, outside of any justifiable emergency.
In addition to limiting this specific decision-making process to E.M.S. providers alone, who are trained to properly monitor a person’s vitals and weight in relation to chemical restraint dosage, peace officers would be prohibited from compelling, requesting, causing, directing, or influencing them in any way.
Under the parameters of the bill, if a peace officer was to influence an E.M.S. provider in any way, the provider involved would be prohibited from administering any chemical restraint.
Also, peace officers that witness another peace officer using a chemical restraint while pursuing their duties would be required to report the violation to their immediate supervisor.
In that same situation, the bill would permit peace officers that witness a violation of this kind by a fellow peace officer to step in and intervene without regard for the chain of command, so long as the illegal implementation of chemical restraints is avoided.
HB21-1251, championed by Rep. Yadira Caraveo, Rep. Leslie Herof, Sen. Rhonda Fields and Sen. Julie Gonzales, was created partially in response to the death of Elijah McClain, 23, who died after being given chemical restraints by authorities in Aurora on August 24, 2019.
The next phase for the bill will maneuver through the Senate’s committee structure. The future use of chemical restraints could soon be a much more restrained practice in the state of Colorado.