Trust commission sought in Loveland after Karen Garner arrest

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LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — UPDATE: The Loveland City Council approved by a vote of 6-3 for an ad hoc trust commission made up of 16 citizens and the city manager and city attorney that would run through September 2022.

However, the ordinance still has to go through two more city council meetings before being officially approved and not as an ad hoc commission.

ORIGINAL: Loveland’s mayor pro tem says the trust between the city’s residents and the police department has been heavily damaged after the controversial arrest of 73-year-old Karen Garner, who has dementia, sparked outrage. 

Three police officers resigned after video surfaced showing them roughing Garner up and ignoring her calls for help.

Now, there’s a move to establish a trust commission by Mayor Pro Tem Don Overcash. 

“I’m concerned about the long-term effects in the community. Trust has been wounded. It’s been damaged. And I’m concerned about the ability of the community moving forward,” said Overcash. 

The 16-member commission, led by citizens, would among other things figure out how cases like Karen Garner’s went unreported for so long. 

“In this particular instance, we didn’t know anything about it for over 10 months. Something broke in the process. Something in this particular situation failed. And that’s what we’d like to understand because if we understand that, then we can apply the proper solution,” said Overcash. 

Questions also are being asked in an internal affairs investigation. 

The citizens’ committee would be a way for the community to learn more about how the police department works and why things go wrong. 

Shane Ritter is a community activist in Loveland and has been watching the Garner case closely. Ritter helped organize a rally to help call attention to what he describes as injustices by Loveland police. 

The groups he’s involved with hope the proposed commission can answer questions driving speculation.

“How do they handle excessive force? What does that look like within the department? How is it reviewed? Chief Robert Ticer has said that he didn’t know this incident even occurred until the lawsuit was filed. A lot of us wonder how that could possibly be,” said Ritter. 

Ritter would like to see fast results from the trust commission if it’s established. So many people still have so many questions about how an arrest like this almost went overlooked. 

The city council must approve to establish the trust commission.

If approved, Overcash says work on getting it set up could start Wednesday.

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