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Police Services

 Contact Information

Dept Head: Chief Jeff Swoboda

Police Transparency

Trust and transparency are critical components of any healthy, sustainable relationship. Our goal is to make Fort Collins the safest city in the country, and the only way to achieve that is in partnership with our community. With that in mind, we want to make sure information is readily available about the topics of interest and concern to our community. Below you'll find information, links, and policies that define our processes, philosophies, and accountability measures that ensure we're providing the best service possible.

Anti-Bias Training + Expectations

Anti-Bias Training + Expectations

TRAINING

As a CALEA accredited law enforcement agency, all Fort Collins Police Services employees (sworn and civilian) are required to complete anti-bias training each year.

FCPS started its dedicated annual anti-bias training in 2017 with implicit bias awareness training delivered by Diversity Solutions Group, a locally-owned, minority-run consulting firm.

Since then, FCPS has developed a program called Character Counts that focuses on promoting a culture of ethics and integrity. This program’s instructor group includes 16 agency employees at varying ranks and positions within the organization.

The Character Counts instructor group attended train-the-trainer training conducted by Fair and Impartial Policing about implicit bias training in 2019. Due to COVID restrictions, the 2020 training will be delivered to employees remotely. Starting in 2021, a more robust internal training will be delivered in-person.

The training format includes lecture-based learning, discussions, scenarios, and small group exercises. The purpose of the training includes the following:

    • Understand that even well-intentioned people have biases
    • Understand how implicit biases impact on what we perceive/see and can (unless prevented) impact on what we do
    • Understand that fair & impartial policing leads to effective policing; and,
    • Use tools that help individuals (1) recognize their conscious and implicit biases, and (2) implement “controlled” (unbiased) behavioral responses.

EXPECTATIONS

The trust and confidence of our community is paramount to ensuring the safety of everyone in Fort Collins. We hold integrity as one of our core values and expect all employees to exemplify character both on and off the job. All matters of personal and professional misconduct are taken seriously. 

Racial or bias-based policing is strictly forbidden. Fort Collins Police Services is committed to providing law enforcement services to the community with due regard for the racial, cultural, or other differences of those served. It is the policy of this agency to provide law enforcement services and to enforce the law equally, fairly, and without discrimination toward any individual or group.

View Related Policies
Policy 402: Racial or Bias-Based Policing
Policy 1020: Administrative Investigations

Arrest Data by Race

The data below reflects arrests and citations broken down by race, which is listed on official identification documents. Ethnicity is not tracked since this information requires a self-identifying declaration by the individual or direct questioning by the officer (which we typically avoid in order to prevent concerns about the basis for the interaction). Since Hispanic/Latinx is an ethnicity by definition, this information is not broken out in the data below.

CRIMINAL ARRESTS OR CITATIONS

Race

2018

2019

2020*

Total

A - Asian

37

34

13

84

B - Black

369

367

162

898

I - American Indian/Alaskan Native

31

43

10

84

P - Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian

4

4

1

9

U - Unknown

28

7

2

37

W - White

5,887

5,427

2,222

13,536

Total Arrests/Criminal Citations

6,356

5,882

2,410

14,648

TRAFFIC CITATIONS

Race

2018

2019

2020*

Total

A - Asian

99

55

20

174

B - Black

216

194

100

510

I - American Indian/Alaskan Native

28

12

4

44

P - Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian

0

0

1

1

U - Unknown

480

424

70

974

W - White

8,253

6,988

2,602

17,843

Total Traffic Citations

9,076

7,673

2,797

19,546

*2020 data reflects arrests/citations from January 1 - May 31.

 

 

Body-Worn Cameras

Body-Worn Cameras

Body-Worn Camera
 

Body-worn cameras are valuable tools that provide an added layer of accountability for both law enforcement officials and the people they serve. All FCPS uniformed officers are equipped with body-worn cameras. More information about the history of the agency's body-worn camera program is available here

View Related Policy
Policy 446: Mobile Audio/Video Recorder Policy

Budget

Budget

We have heard the calls to consider reallocation of funds from Police Services to other community priorities. In recent years, officers have been increasingly tasked with navigating complex social issues, including homelessness, mental and behavioral health, substance abuse, and more. At FCPS, we have increased our partnerships and training in these areas to equip officers with the skills and resources to manage situations involving these factors. That being said, we are open to constructive conversations about other avenues for managing these challenges in our community.

Current funding for FCPS supports proactive community policing and a more comprehensive focus on service delivery that goes beyond the basics of investigating crimes and enforcing the law. This investment means we have officers with training and empathy to respond to the needs of our rapidly growing community as safely and thoughtfully as possible for everyone involved.

The City of Fort Collins budget process funds specific community outcomes: Neighborhood Livability and Social Health, Culture and Recreation, Economic Health, Environmental Health, Safe Community, Transportation, and High Performing Government. Each of these outcomes includes several strategic objectives. Instead of across-the-board increases or decreases to department budgets, this model funds programs and services that align with community priorities to support those strategic objectives. Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) provides a number of valuable contributions under several outcome areas, most notably Neighborhood Livability and Social Health, and Safe Community.

For more information about the City’s Budgeting For Outcomes process, as well as financial data about the Police Services funding, please visit https://www.fcgov.com/bfo. For the citywide (including Police Services) budget information, follow the link below.

View City Budget

CALEA Accreditation
CALEA logo
 

Fort Collins Police Services earned CALEA accreditation in 2019.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®), was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations:

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
  • National Sheriffs' Association (NSA)
  • Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)

Approximately 4% of law enforcement agencies in the US are CALEA accredited (800 of 18,000).

CALEA accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance and responsibilities.

The initial accreditation process included a comprehensive review of policy and practices to ensure compliance with industry standards. A file review of FCPS policies/procedures was remotely conducted by two Compliance Service Members (CSM’s) and we were required to provide “proofs of compliance” for the standards set by CALEA. Following that, we had a site-based assessment that included a tour of the facility, equipment and specialty teams (static display), public comment sessions and interviews with agency and community members.  The CSM’s submitted a comprehensive report to the CALEA commission and following a hearing with the commission and agency representatives, accreditation was awarded to the agency in 2019.

Following initial accreditation, ongoing work is required to maintain certification. There is continuous review of policies/procedures and directives ensuring we are reviewing what we do and working to continually improve. CALEA conducts annual reviews by CSM’s who review ‘proofs of standards’ and ensure on-going compliance with their standards. Annual reviews culminate in a re-accreditation every four years after review and approval by the CALEA commission. FCPS successfully completed our first annual review in June 2020. Our second  annual review will be conducted in June 2021.

CALEA accreditation facilitates an agency’s pursuit of professional excellence and provides oversight to ensure that accredited agencies are providing the highest level of community service possible.

Learn about CALEA

Conduct + Complaints

Conduct + Complaints

Fort Collins Police employees work to provide compassionate, professional services to everyone we encounter. All employees are expected to treat colleagues and community members alike with respect, operate with integrity both personally and professionally, provide world-class service, and engage with our community.

We hold high expectations for everyone who works at FCPS. We welcome feedback, both positive and negative, from community members regarding the conduct of our employees. To make a comment or complaint, or to learn more about the administrative investigation process, please visit our Employee Conduct page

All formal complaints are entered into our internal affairs software. The system sends a notice to internal affairs and supervisors for required review and documented follow-up. An early intervention system identifies areas for supervisors to address with employees so minor issues don't become major problems. The internal affairs software tracks:

    1. Use of Force & Show of Force
    2. Vehicle pursuits
    3. Vehicle collisions involving City-owned vehicles
    4. Performance complaints
    5. Level I investigations
    6. Level II investigations

View Related Policies
Law Enforcement Code of Ethics (p3)
Policy 340: Expectations of Conduct
Policy 402: Racial or Bias-Based Policing
Policy 1020: Administrative Investigations
Policy 1021: Early Intervention System

Complaint Data

FCPS officers come into contact with many community members each year. The information in the table below details the annual number of total incidents (calls for service and officer-initiated activity), as well as a comparative breakdown of how many complaints were investigated that year. 

  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
ANNUAL POLICE CALLS 104,202 111,149 110,590 105,871 112,811
Complaints 37 60 126 108 64
% Complaints 0.04% 0.05% 0.11% 0.10% 0.06%

We take all complaints seriously. Annual data regarding complaints against FCPS employees is available below. Detailed information about the administrative investigation types can be found online in the agency Policy Manual (Policy 1020).

It should be noted that in 2017, FCPS expanded agency efforts to track and document all complaints that were reported. Prior to this time, supervisors had different guidance as to how and when complaints were entered into the system. 

TOTAL 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Complaints 37 60 126 108 64
Sustained 25 27 51 42 31
% Sustained 68% 45% 40% 39% 48%

 

SOURCE 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Internal 24 38 60 36 19
External 13 22 66 72 45

 

TYPE 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Performance 19 39 81 89 47
Level I 12 9 37 15 11
Level II 6 12 8 4 6

 

Cultural Competency

Cultural Competency

police talking with residents at a community picnic
 

In late 2017-early 2018, Fort Collins Police participated in the Community Trust Initiative. This initiative included forming a stakeholder advisory group to better understand the barriers to engagement and fears within our immigrant community. Following the stakeholder group's 4.5 month work period, City staff developed a final report outlining a roadmap to improving trust and connection with our immigrant communities.

As a result of new relationships developed through the initiative, FCPS began partnering with local organizations that serve our Spanish-speaking community. Since that time, the agency has hosted numerous "cafecitos" (Coffee with a Cop), informational presentations about requested topics, tours of the police department conducted solely in Spanish, and community barbecues. 

In order to improve the Spanish skills of officers and civilians, the FCPS Spanish team has attended language immersion classes, hosted internal training to practice language skills, added Spanish content to social media, and continues to seek opportunities to understand the challenges faced by our immigrant community.

While this is one ongoing effort, we recognize that there is much work to be done and welcome opportunities to connect further with minority and marginalized groups in our community.

De-Escalation & Use of Force

De-Escalation

OVERVIEW

The use of force by law enforcement personnel is a matter of critical concern, both to the public and to the law enforcement community. Officers are involved on a daily basis in numerous and varied interactions and, when warranted, may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties. Officers must have an understanding of, and true appreciation for, their authority and limitations. This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties. The Agency recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. 

DE-ESCALATION

FCPS has a philosophy of de-escalation. To ensure that it’s a central part of our culture and operations, we integrate de-escalation into all of our training (meaning it’s not just a one-time class). One-third of Fort Collins Officers are also certified in Crisis Intervention Team training (exceeding the national standard of 20%). Additionally, FCPS has a mental health co-responder who assists in connecting people in crisis with local resources to avoid repeat visits to jail or the emergency room. In any situation, the safety of all involved parties is our top priority.

TACTICS + TRANSITIONS

Our goal is to use the least amount of force necessary to ensure the safety of all involved in a situation. Our defensive tactics protocols and use of force continuum train officers to make force decisions based on the level of threat presented. This training teaches officers to make force decisions based on the level of threat presented. Our defensive tactics and firearms training includes transitioning between responses so officers are well-equipped to move up and down the continuum based on the threat presented.

REPORTING

Fort Collins Police requires all use of force and show of force to be entered into an internal affairs software system.The system sends a notice to internal affairs and supervisors for required review and documented follow-up. An early intervention system identifies areas for supervisors to address with employees so minor issues don't become major problems. The internal affairs software tracks:

  1. Use of Force & Show of Force
  2. Vehicle pursuits
  3. Vehicle collisions involving City-owned vehicles
  4. Performance complaints
  5. Level I investigations
  6. Level II investigations

OVERSIGHT

Citizen Review Board - At the request of the City Manager or the Chief of Police, the Citizen Review Board makes recommendations concerning interpretation of police policies and procedures. The Board reviews internal investigations concerning Police and Community Service Officer conduct in the following situations:

  1. Upon written complaint, where an Officer is alleged to have: used force or discharged a firearm in violation of policy or law; committed a crime; or caused a person to sustain severe injury, death, or a civil rights violation.
  2. Regardless of whether or not there is a complaint, where an Officer has used deadly force.
  3. Upon written request, where a person wants to have Police Services' decision reviewed with regard to any other written allegation of misconduct of an Officer.
  4. Any other investigation as requested by the City Manager or Chief of Police.

8TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT CRITICAL INCIDENT RESPONSE TEAM

In the Eighth Judicial District (which includes Larimer County), the multi-agency Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is called in any time there is an officer-involved shooting that results in injury or death. At the conclusion of a CIRT investigation, the findings are reported to the District Attorney. The District Attorney completes a thorough review of the entire investigation and uses the applicable law to determine whether the use of force was justified. 

View Related Policies
Policy 300: Response to Resistance
Policy 819: Critical Incidents and Line of Duty Deaths
Policy 1020: Administrative Investigations
Policy 1021: Early Intervention System

Ethics

Ethics

FCPS has an internal ethics program called Character Counts that focuses on promoting a culture of ethics and integrity. This program’s instructor group includes 16 agency employees at varying ranks and positions within the organization.

In 2017, FCPS partnered with the Daniels Fund Initiative. The Deputy Chief of Police serves on the Daniels Fund Law Enforcement Ethics Initiative Committee, which produced a series of videos utilizing our employees, and those of other participating agencies, to focus specifically on law enforcement ethics. This initiative delivers principle-based ethics education, and reinforces the value of ethical work and personal conduct. These videos have been used as the annual core curriculum for agency training and discussion.

In 2018, two Character Counts instructors attended a train-the-trainer course conducted by Institute for Law Enforcement Administration. These instructors then trained the remaining Character Counts team in 2019. This material is designed to teach employees at all levels of the organization to identify and analyze ethical dilemmas as well as make ethical decisions. These training tools will be added to our ethics training starting in 2021 (new material slated for 2020 but delayed due to COVID).

Diversity

Diversity

We value diverse perspectives and recognize the benefits they bring to our community and workplace. 

Our Personnel and Training Unit's primary recruiting objective is to "recruit a pool of highly qualified applicants in adequate numbers to achieve the goal of a workforce composition in the sworn law enforcement ranks that is reflective of the Fort Collins community’s demographics."

Recruitment efforts include participating in recruitment events at high schools and college, as well as visiting regional police academies. In an effort to attract a more diverse pool of applicants, our Personnel and Training officers seek out and attend events and schools known to have a diversified population of students/cadets. Personnel and Training Unit also works to identify and break down any barriers that may prevent minority candidates from applying, and officers regularly evaluate testing to ensure that it does not disfavor any demographic.

2019 FCPS Officer demographics compared to City service population

Race/Ethnicity Service Population Total
Sworn Officers
Female
Sworn Officers
  # % # % # %
White/
Non-Hispanic
128,306 80.61% 208 88.51% 26 11.06%
Black/
Non-Hispanic
2,295 1.44% 4 1.7% 0 0%
Hispanic/Latino
any race
18,726 11.76% 16 6.8% 6 2.55%
Other/ Did not 
disclose
9,823 6.17% 7 2.97% 1 0.42%
Total 159,150 100% 235 100% 33 10%

Service population source: factfinder.census.gov
2017 American Community Survey - Demographic and Housing Estimates
Represents FCPS officers employed in 2019

Hiring Process & Standards

Hiring Process + Standards

FCPS has high standards for hiring and uses a rigorous process to ensure that qualified candidates with high integrity join our agency. The officer hiring process takes approximately 6 months to complete.

OFFICER HIRING REQUIREMENTS

  • Must be 21 years of age.
  • Must possess a valid drivers license.
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED and a minimum of 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours from a college or university that is listed in the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Post-Secondary Institutions and Programs with a minimum 2.0 GPA on a 4 point scale prior to hire date. (Work experience or military service cannot be substituted for this education requirement)
  • Must be a citizen of the United States by birth, naturalization or lawfully in the United States and legally authorized for employment.
  • Must be able to read, speak and understand English.

HIRING DISQUALIFIERS

The following is not an all-inclusive list of instances that may disqualify individuals from the officer hiring process. Other standards may prompt disqualification as well.

  • Felony conviction
  • Conviction, deferred prosecution or deferred judgment of a misdemeanor within three years of application date
  • Any driving arrest or conviction within three years of the candidate's application that involve alcohol, controlled substances, drugs, or other illegal substances
  • Any pending or prior convictions of, deferred prosecution or deferred judgments for, reckless driving or careless driving resulting in injury within three years prior to application deadline date
  • Release or discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions
  • Certain misdemeanor criminal convictions, as defined by P.O.S.T., which would affect peace officer certification in Colorado

SELECTION PROCESS

  • Written Testing
  • Oral Interview
  • Job Suitability Evaluation
  • Integrity Interview
  • Truth Verification Exam
  • Physical Agility Test
  • Background Investigation
  • Final Interview
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Medical Assessment
  • Drug Screen
Mental Health

Mental Health

Two officers and mental health co-responder speak to a person in crisis
 

CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINING

One-third of FCPS officers are certified in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, exceeding the national standard of 20%). CIT is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and substance use disorder professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, their families and other advocates. This innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training is designed to help persons with mental disorders and/or substance use disorders access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors. It also promotes officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis.

CO-RESPONSE PROGRAM

FCPS assists an increasing number of community members with behavioral health conditions, as well as their families who are concerned about them, on a daily basis. The Mental Health Co-Response program was launched in 2018 with the goals of a) increasing the safety of those people in crisis and officers who encounter them and b) to help families and individuals in crisis access appropriate community services. The Co-Response program is an integral part of the department’s overall philosophy of de-escalation, or in other words, aligned with the department’s philosophy of connecting with and helping community members without the use of force as often as possible. 

Our agency's Co-Responder, Stephane Booco, is a licensed mental health professional and the Community Programs Coordinator for UCHealth. She and Community Paramedic Julie Bower join officers on scene to assess and refer community members to appropriate mental health and/or medical services. The Co-Response program has been an extremely valuable resource to foster the safety of all involved parties in a mental health crisis incident, reduce the frequency of interactions with law enforcement, reduce repeated unnecessary trips to the hospital emergency room, and to help those in crisis access the most appropriate treatment services.

For more information about the agency's comprehensive approach to recognizing and safely assisting people experiencing a mental health crisis, please visit our Mental Health page.

INTERAGENCY TREATMENT GROUP

The Interagency Treatment Group is a monthly forum of 25 community agencies; medical, mental health, social service, criminal justice and law enforcement, created to assist Fort Collins Police Services in its efforts to intervene safely and effectively with individuals who exhibit mental illness and addictive behaviors. The program’s mission is to bring together agencies that share clients with law enforcement in order to effectively coordinate services between agencies, provide the most effective interventions, reduce recidivism, enhance the safety of all service providers, and provide education and emotional support for agency representatives.

POLICE PSYCHOLOGIST

Fort Collins Police Services has employed a full time Police Psychologist for 30 years. The role of the Psychologist is to: provide free confidential counseling for any staff member and his or her family, be available for 24/7 consultation and critical incident response, participate in the training of all new officers, dispatchers, records, evidence staff and other department personnel regarding mental health issues, provide bi-annual training for patrol officers, provide consultation to any level of leadership as requested, and chair a monthly Interagency group to help facilitate effective collaboration between the police department, community mental health, social service and medical agencies. In addition, new officers have regular confidential meetings with the department Staff Psychologist for support and education on mental health topics.

View Related Policies
Policy 417: Responding to Persons Affected by Mental Health Disorders

School Resource Officers

School Resource Officers

Fort Collins Police Services works collaboratively with Poudre School District to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. 

The School Resource Officer (SRO) program in Fort Collins includes 1 Sergeant, 2 Corporals, and 11 SROs who are assigned to schools. They provide service for 38 schools in Fort Collins serving approximately 25,000 students. Poudre School District is the 9th largest school district in Colorado.

SROs fulfill three roles as a part of their job: Teaching, Informal Counseling, and Law Enforcement.

They teach, counsel, and enforce around issues related to internet safety, drug/alcohol awareness, Safe2Tell, restorative justice, welfare checks, child abuse, response to school violence training, assessing student threat/risk behavior, providing victim assistance/referrals, and conducting facility assessments/safety recommendations. Having an officer on-site also allows for rapid response in the event of an active shooter or other violent event.

SROs help coordinate wrap around services such as SAVA/DHS, CAYAK/Summitstone, Center for Family Outreach, Juvenile Recovery Court, Mediation, Deferments, and Juvenile Justice System. The juvenile justice system aims to provide justice-involved youth with resources and services that support a healthy future.

SROs receive all standard police training required at FCPS, as well as specialized training for this assignment:

  • The Adolescent Brain, Mental Health and Intervention
  • Restorative Justice Training
  • At Risk Youth and Trauma
  • Threat Assessment Training
  • School Law and the Juvenile Justice System
  • Juvenile Sex Assault Training
  • Juvenile Sex Trafficking
  • Cyber Crimes and Sexting
  • Truancy and Juvenile Delinquency Concerns
  • Briefings at Columbine (mass shooting debriefs)
  • Single Officer Tactics Training (quarterly for SRO’s)
  • FERPA, IEP and 504 training
  • Basic SRO school (POST requirement)

Enforcement + Outcomes

Colorado Statute C.R.S. 22-32-146(5) mandates that local law enforcement agencies annually report specific information to the Division of Criminal Justice concerning every incident that resulted in a student’s arrest, summons or ticket during the previous academic year for an offense that occurred at a public elementary school, middle or junior high school, or high school; in a school vehicle; or at a school activity or sanctioned event. FCPS School Resource Officers issued 219 citations during the 2018-2019 school year. To access additional information, which can be sorted by school, please visit the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice's data portal.

The juvenile justice system includes a number of restorative services. Diversion is an effective program that utilizes education, community, and family services to divert juveniles from the criminal justice system. In the 2018-2019 school year, 53% of FCPS School Resource Officer cases went to Diversion.

Cases being considered for Diversion are kept pending, meaning charges are not actually filed. Diversion staff screens cases to create a plan of action to help the individual repair any harm done, learn from their offense, and gain additional skills to prevent future justice system involvement. Examples of support includes connections to:

Our School Resource Officers work closely with school administrators to support a healthy, successful future for justice-involved students.

Thin Blue Line

Thin Blue Line

Blue line over National Law Enforcement Memorial vigil
 

Thin Blue Line is a long-standing symbol of commitment to community safety, no matter the personal cost. Historically, the Thin Blue Line has signified the protective line between order & chaos.

References date back to 1911, but the term wasn't used much until the 1950s when featured in a LAPD TV show, then in a 1988 documentary about a Dallas officer's death. It's been used for decades as a memorial symbol for officers who have died in the line of duty, as well as a reminder that every person who wears the badge is willing to make that sacrifice for the safety of the communities we serve. Over time, other first responder divisions also adopted the metaphor - the Thin Red Line for firefighters, Thin Gold Line for Dispatchers, and Thin White Line for paramedics/EMS. 

At the end of the day, the Thin Blue Line is a promise. It's a symbol used to signify commitment to our communities and protection against evil. While some individuals have used it in a controversial way in the midst of modern social issues, the symbol originated and remains a testament to officers' dedication to peace.

Training

Training Standards

OVERVIEW

We invest heavily in training. Having a strong, consistent, well-maintained knowledge of best practices and processes allows officers to safely serve the community. 

All Colorado officers are required to meet Colorado P.O.S.T. (Peace Officers Standards and Training) requirements each year to maintain their law enforcement certification. FCPS exceeds the minimum P.O.S.T. standards.

In 2019, our agency employees completed a total of 31,500 hours of training. All officers received training that included legal updates, implicit bias, defensive tactics, firearms, driving, DUI investigations, active shooter response, hazmat response, critical incident response, mental health (community and personal), and equipment recertifications. De-escalation is a prominent part of defensive tactics, firearms, and other topics that may involve response to an active situation.

One-third of FCPS officers are certified in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, exceeding the national standard of 20%). CIT is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and substance use disorder professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, their families and other advocates. This innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training is Designed to help persons with mental disorders and/or substance use disorders access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors. It also promotes officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis.

NEW HIRES

New officers with no lateral law experience are required to successfully complete a 21-week basic police academy and successfully pass the Colorado P.O.S.T. certification test.

Upon graduation, all hires (new and lateral) must complete a 9-week internal mini-academy at FCPS. This program educates new recruits about our culture, expectations, tactics, and philosophy of de-escalation. In addition, new officers have regular confidential meetings with the department Staff Psychologist for support and education on mental health topics.  

Once they've completed mini-academy, new officers must successfully pass a 4-phased field training officer (FTO) program. During FTO, they are paired with experienced officers with specialized training that allows them to teach and evaluate new hires.

Officers who successfully pass this rigorous program join the Patrol Division as solo officers. In total, the introductory training program lasts approximately 18 months.

Use of Force

The use of force by law enforcement personnel is a matter of critical concern, both to the public and the law enforcement community. Officers are involved on a daily basis in numerous and varied interactions and, when warranted, may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties. This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties. FCPS respects and recognizes the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. 

Use of Force (UOF) data is tracked in several different ways, which are broken down and defined below. 

USE OF FORCE TOTALS 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
UOF - Arrests 165 178 152 127 137
UOF - People 178 228 184 147 146
UOF -  Applications 224 328 197 213 220
UOF - Instances 199 278 229 188 194

Arrests: Number of cases where an arrest/criminal (non-traffic) citation was made and force was used. 
People: Number of people upon whom force was used during incidents involving police. While most UOF is made in connection with criminal activity, officers may need to use low levels of physical force when taking a combative individual into protective custody for mental health or detox holds. This information is included in the total above.
Applications: Number of applications of different force tools. If multiple force tools are used during a single incident, each type is counted.
Instances: Number instances when officers used force.


The table below compares Use of Force - Arrests data to total police incidents (calls for service + police-initiated calls).

POLICE INCIDENTS 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Total Incidents 104,202 111,149 110,590 105,871 112,811
Total Arrests 6,015 6,558 6,758 6,356 5,882
Total Arrests with UOF 165 178 152 127 137
% Arrests with UOF 2.7% 2.7% 2.2% 2.0% 2.3%

 

The table below breaks down the Use of Force - People data by race/ethnicity. 

RACE/ETHNICITY 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
White 114 164 128 114 114
Black 16 16 13 12 17
Hispanic 36 27 30 10 9
Native American 1 1 3 1 2
Asian 0 0 1 0 1
Unknown 11 20 9 10 3
TOTAL 178 228 184 147 146

 

The table below breaks down the number of people who reported injuries or pain that prompted medical evaluation.

INJURIES 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Officers 18 27 19 27 22
Citizens 57 77 56 69 57

**After a use of force incident and prior to booking or release, it is our policy and practice that medical assistance is obtained for any person who exhibits signs of physical distress, who has sustained visible injury, expresses a complaint of injury or continuing pain, or who was rendered unconscious. Further, any individual exhibiting signs of physical distress after an encounter is continuously monitored until he/she can be medically assessed.

The table below breaks down Use of Force - Applications

TOOL APPLICATIONS 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
ASP Baton 0 2 1 3 1
CS  4 0 1 0 0
Handgun 1 4 1 0 1
K9 2 3 1 8 10
OC Spray 33 30 11 10 22
PepperBall 4 5 2 7 9
Personal Weapons 40 81 40 48 41
Rifle 0 0 2 0 0
SAGE 3 3 3 3 6
Straight Baton 8 13 7 1 4
Takedown 127 166 104 107 110
Taser 2 21 24 26 16
TOTAL 224 328 197 213 220

ASP Baton: An expandable baton made of lightweight metal.
CS: Chemical substance used to cause temporary discomfort. 
Handgun: Agency-issued firearm used to deliver lethal force.
K9: Trained police dog used for searches, drug detection, and suspect apprehension.
OC Spray: Agency-issued canister that delivers oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray).
PepperBall: Launchable less-lethal chemical, similar to OC spray.
Personal Weapons: Intentional impacts using one's body parts (hands, feet, etc).
Rifle: Agency-issued firearm used to deliver lethal force.
SAGE: Less-lethal launcher that deploys hard-foam/rubber projectile.
Straight Baton: Cylindrical baton made of wood.
Takedown: Forcing a non-compliant subject to the ground.
Taser: Device that causes temporary electro-muscular disruption.

LESS-LETHAL TOOLS

The use of less-lethal tools has been a topic of discussion for many years in law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. The philosophy of less-lethal equipment is to provide officers with de-escalation tools as options to other force; these tools bridge the gap between standard force (hands, baton, and OC spray) and deadly force. There is an understanding that while less-lethal tools cause pain compliance but are not designed to cause serious bodily injury or death, the potential for that undesirable outcome is present in dynamic situations.

In plain terms, less-lethal tools allow the suspect to comply and give the officer options to deal with a violent and/or armed person without getting too close. This extended range capability is a large part of our de-escalation efforts. Lessons learned from nationwide incidents showed that closing the distance to try to use a baton or a hands-on technique often resulted in escalation of the situation. In some cases, with no other use-of-force options available to the officer, the situations resulted in a deadly force encounter. This could be especially true in calls involving suicidal persons.

Over the last 23 years, FCPS has developed a robust less-lethal program. In addition, there are several FCPS officers that are nationally recognized experts on less-lethal tools, tactics, and current technology and travel across the country to certify other less-lethal instructors from around the world.

All uniformed Police Services’ officers have several tools available all the time, to include OC spray, a baton, and a Taser. The extended range options are available to be checked out by specially-trained officers to deal with armed/violent criminals or armed suicidal subjects. The tools available include low-energy impact options and high-energy impact options to better address the unique circumstances of a call. These tools include:

PepperBall launcher: The PepperBall launcher is a high-pressure air less-lethal system. The launcher is similar to a paint ball gun; however, the projectiles contain OC powder instead of paint. The PepperBall is a low-energy system designed to create low levels of pain to gain compliance. The system combines a low kinetic energy strike with a secondary effect from the chemical agent. The potential for injury is low and the effects of the chemical agent wear off for most people within 10-30 minutes. This tool is used on patrol and special operations.

Less-lethal baton launcher (SAGE or CTS brands): This a high-energy, extended range, less-lethal launching system that launches a polyurethane baton projectile. The projectile is spin-stabilized for better accuracy and has been the main less-lethal tool on high-risk calls since 1997. The less-lethal launcher systems are deployed on patrol and special operations.

Chemical agents: The main chemical agent for patrol officers is OC spray. OC, which stands for Oleoresin Capsicum, is a mainstay chemical agent used by law enforcement agencies in the United States. Common effects are skin irritation, watery eyes, and irritation of the mucus membranes. A large majority of people exposed to OC start to recover within 10-30 minutes with no long-term effects. Our new officers are exposed to OC in the police academy to help them understand how the chemical agent might impact others.

The second chemical agent used by Police Services is CS, which stands for o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile. CS is normally used in crowd control. While each chemical agent affects people in different ways, CS usually causes irritation to the skin, shortness of breath, excessive secretion of mucus from the nose, and watery eyes. Recovery time is similar to OC with no long-term effects. All FCPS chemical agent instructors, and numerous officers, have been exposed to CS.

FCPS has an overall philosophy of de-escalation that incorporates regular and ongoing training, quality tools, supervision, and good tactics. Our use of chemical agents and less-lethal systems are not to be used on peaceful and/or cooperative crowds or people. The use of all less-lethal systems is subject to required reporting, review, and assessment within our use of force policies. 

View Related Policies
Policy 300: Response to Resistance
Policy 819: Critical Incidents and Line of Duty Deaths
Policy 1020: Administrative Investigations
Policy 1021: Early Intervention System

Wellness Program

Wellness Program

Our employees invest in their physical and mental health to provide the best service possible. A number of resources are available to build a resilient workforce and provide the necessary mental health support for emergency services professionals who are routinely exposed to traumatic and high-stress situations.

STAFF PSYCHOLOGIST
Fort Collins Police Services has employed a full time Police Psychologist for 30 years. The role of the Psychologist is to: provide free confidential counseling for any staff member and his or her family, be available for 24/7 consultation and critical incident response, participate in the training of all new officers, dispatchers, records, evidence staff and other department personnel regarding mental health issues, provide bi-annual training for patrol officers, provide consultation to any level of leadership as requested, and chair a monthly Interagency group to help facilitate effective collaboration between the police department, community mental health, social service and medical agencies. In addition, new officers have regular confidential meetings with the department Staff Psychologist for support and education on mental health topics.  

PEER SUPPORT TEAM
FCPS has an active Peer Support Team made up of 19 sworn and non-sworn department staff supervised by the department Psychologist. The Team is granted confidentiality by department policy as well as state statute in order to provide support services to staff and their families 24/7. They also respond along with the Staff Psychologist to all critical incidents. After an original 32-hour basic course, training and supervision continue on a monthly basis. A recent survey conducted by an independent source showed that 90% of those who have used the service felt it was helpful and almost 90% would refer others for such support.

PERSONAL WELLNESS APP
In 2020, FCPS launched the Cordico Wellness app for employees and their families. This mobile resource provides a variety of tools that help officers, dispatchers, and professional staff develop and maintain personal resilience. It includes modules focused on a wide variety of physical, emotional, and financial health topics. The app also includes self-assessments, links to access support, guided meditations, and other tools to promote individual and family wellness. 

STRESS DEBRIEFINGS
Law enforcement personnel respond to some of the worst situations imaginable and must put personal feelings aside in order to perform necessary action to safely resolve situations and perform thorough investigations following serious crimes. Following particularly traumatic situations like child deaths, homicides, violent assaults, and critical incidents, the staff psychologist conducts an after-action stress debriefing for any employee involved or affected by the incident. These meetings allow employees to discuss the impact the incident had on them personally, learn about post-traumatic stress symptoms, and make connections for ongoing support. 

RETURN TO DUTY PROTOCOL
FCPS has a comprehensive return to duty protocol that officers follow before resuming work after a critical incident. Officers are often called upon to deal with situations that may result in psychological trauma. The effectiveness of the recovery environment after a critical incident plays a significant role in both the prevention of a trauma response and a rapid recovery and successful return to work. The goal of the support offered is to return the involved staff member to duty mentally prepared to work safely and effectively.

View Related Policies
Policy 817: Peer Support Team
Policy 819: Critical Incidents and Line of Duty Deaths

"8 Can't Wait" Initiative

8 Can't Wait Graphic

We've received a number of questions related to the national 8 Can't Wait initiative. Here's a look at how our existing policies and long-standing approach to training support safety in Fort Collins.

Community Questions

On June 10, 2020, FCPS Chief Swoboda joined Councilmember Emily Gorgol and Mayor Pro Tem Kristin Stephens for a community listening session held via Zoom. Attendees had an opportunity to ask questions in the chat. These questions, along with answers from FCPS, are available here. 

View the Q&A

 

Police Services