Avon police chief to deliver report on town policing in 2020 | VailDaily.com

Avon police chief to deliver report on town policing in 2020

Report includes the ways the department responded to the state bill increasing accountability and responsibility among officers

Avon Police Chief Greg Daly is set to give an annual report to the Town Council on Tuesday. The report will detail the department’s efforts over the past year, including community efforts, policing and arrest records as well as additional improvements and initiatives made.

“Our crime rates continue at historic lows, and we believe they are attributed to our presence in our community, our community outreach, our relationship trust building and through our high visibility patrols,” wrote Daly in the report, which is included in the meeting’s packet materials. “It is a delicate balance between deterrent presence and too much presence, but for the most part, our citizenry, residents and guests appear to appreciate and support our efforts to protect and serve.”

According to the report, the Avon Police Department responded to 26,741 calls for service in 2020. The department reported 530 criminal cases, 662 incident reports, 139 traffic accident reports and made 273 custodial and summons/release arrests, including 31 felony arrests. Officers made a total of 1,770 traffic stops, 1,299 of which resulted in education warnings and 308 that resulted in a citation or a summons.

2020 was a year of change for many police departments across the country as the world grappled with the killing of George Floyd in police custody. In Colorado, a new bill, Senate Bill 20-217, was passed into law, creating new enforcement standards and increase accountability within the profession.

Daly previously told the Vail Daily that this bill was an important step in creating a culture of accountability for police agencies.

Support Local Journalism

The report to Town Council details some of the ways that the police department has implemented or already was enacting some of the bill’s directives.

Part of the bill’s intent was to ensure that police and law enforcement departments were evaluating their use of force policies. Based on the guidance of the Colorado bill, the department only made “subtle changes” to its policy.

The department already required officers to report the use and direction of firearms or less lethal weapons, such as Tasers. Chokeholds are banned except in cases where it is required to save an officer’s life or a member of the public.

According to the annual report, in its 273 arrests made in 2020, some level of force was used in 13 occasions. These included seven incidents were weapons were directed, six incidents where “limited soft hands” were used, six cases where firearms were directed and one where a Taser was directed. There was one complaint of a neck injury from a mental health hold.

“Given the massive number of interactions, I am glad to report that Avon PD officers rarely must use force while detaining or arresting offenders. Avon officers are competently trained in verbal de-escalation techniques,” Daly wrote in the report.

The bill also will require all officers to wear body cameras by July 1, 2023. While Avon has had a body camera program since 2015, the department will implement in-car camera systems to “increase accountability and transparency in our dealings with our community,” Daly wrote in the report.

One major area the bill also addresses is mental health. According to the report, the Avon Police Department has “made it a priority to identify mental health crises as medical events and not criminal events.” The department, the report goes on to say, was the first Eagle County agency to say it wouldn’t transport community members in handcuffs while having a mental health crisis.

In 2020, police in Avon responded to 75 welfare checks, four mental health holds, 53 suicidal calls, 62 calls for service directly related to the Hope Center and 13 calls for service related to Safe2Tell, with some cross over between these calls.

Additionally, the report details the methods of training, data collection, community policing standards, crisis intervention training, hiring practices and more that the department has or will implement as a result of this bill.

The report details a wide variety of information, including community events, efforts and achievements made by the department during COVID-19, training initiatives, highlights of the year and much more.

To hear the full report, watch the Avon Town Council meeting Tuesday, starting at 5:15 p.m.

Support Local Journalism