Use of force audit of the Colorado Springs Police Department is delayed to gather more information

A report looking into the use of force within the Colorado Springs Police Department will be delayed as the agency conducting the audit seeks more information.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski, along with other senior leadership in the department, attended the regular meeting of the city's Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission on Monday to answer questions about the report and other things, like community engagement and trust, as well as recruiting efforts.

The report will look into the police department's use of force, including demographic data and potential disparities. It's also expected to compare CSPD's use of force data to similar cities and make recommendations on collecting data and reducing any disparities found.

The Pennsylvania-based agency performing the audit, Transparency Matters, is led by a former law enforcement officer. 

Niski said at the meeting Monday that he'd heard some concerns that while Transparency Matters developed a survey for the public, there wasn't one for people within the department.

"They wanted their voice heard," Niski said. "After some discussion with Transparency Matters, they agreed it could be beneficial to do that."

The development and analysis of that additional survey is increasing the time frame. The report is now due sometime early next year. It was originally expected to be complete by the end of this year.

The transparency and accountability commission formed in September 2020 in response to protests locally and around the country surrounding the deaths of Black people at the hands of police, prompted in earnest by the death of George Floyd. Eleven people serve on the commission.

The commission's first official recommendation came earlier this year in the form of a request to add to the city's budget funds to create more crisis response teams. The teams are made up of police, fire and mental health professionals and often respond when behavioral health and mental health crises arise.

The recommendation is included in the budget Mayor John Suthers submitted for city council approval last month.