National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Law school’s research helped penetrate Colorado’s ‘blue wall’ of silence

Internal affairs secrecy contributes to a “code of silence” or “blue wall” in law enforcement, a Denver district court judge wrote in a 2005 decision, “by creating the expectation that things will be kept in house and away from objective outsiders.”

Transparency, on the other hand, enhances public confidence in a police department, concluded Judge Catherine A. Lemon upon ordering the release of an internal affairs file. Knowing they will be scrutinized “makes investigators do a better job and makes them and the department more accountable to the public.”

House Bill 19-1119, passed by the General Assembly and signed into law April 12 by Gov. Jared Polis, will penetrate Colorado’s “blue wall” by opening records on completed internal affairs investigations. Several organizations and people were instrumental in making this happen, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and the bill’s primary sponsors, Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver, and Sen. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette. (Read More Here…)