Fort Collins took ac­tion on bad cop

The Denver Post - - OPINION - By John Hutto

Mon­tana au­thor­i­ties had pro­vided in­com­plete, if not de­cep­tive, in­for­ma­tion. We in­ter­viewed Butte vic­tims who hadn’t pre­vi­ously come for­ward due to con­cerns they wouldn’t be taken se­ri­ously. Branson was con­victed on FCPS charges, earn­ing a lengthy prison sen­tence.

We acted quickly and de­ci­sively in Branson’s case. To pre­vent fu­ture prob­lems, we now­con­duct psy­cho­log­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions sooner to elim­i­nate un­fit can­di­dates ear­lier in the process, aswell as scru­ti­nize out­side in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Ifwe’re de­nied in­for­ma­tion or ques­tion an in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s va­lid­ity, we elim­i­nate that can­di­date.

Colorado’s leg­is­la­ture may con­sider bills pre­vent­ing “bad ap­ple” of­fi­cers from agency-hop­ping to hide in­dis­cre­tions. This leg­is­la­tion may man­date full dis­clo­sure of dis­ci­plinary is­sues and limit sep­a­ra­tion agree­ments that cur­rently im­pede dis­clo­sure. I whole­heart­edly sup­port such leg­is­la­tion.

Branson gave our agency a black eye, and I re­gret that he ever wore our badge. I am equally proud of Fort Collins Po­lice Ser­vices for hold­ing him crim­i­nally ac­count­able. Through swift and cer­tain ac­tions, we demon­strated that we will not tol­er­ate any­one who be­trays their oath of of­fice. John Hutto is Fort Collins’ chief of po­lice.

Jarett Branson, a for­mer Butte, Mont., po­lice of­fi­cer who was hired by Fort Collins po­lice in 2014, was sen­tenced last year to four years in prison for felony stalk­ing and mis­de­meanor counts of of­fi­cial mis­con­duct and un­law­ful sex­ual con­tact.

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