Colorado About to Require All Police Officers to Undergo Psychological Evaluations

PrivatePoliceBy Jon Levine

Colorado ruled Monday that police officers in the state be required to undergo full psychological evaluations. The checks would occur before an officer is hired, and every time an officer changes jobs or jurisdictions in the state thereafter, the Denver Post reported.

According to the Post, state law already requires psychological evaluations but such checks are rarely carried out in practice. The new rules were affirmed during a meeting of the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

The loose protocols have largely benefited problem officers who can shuffle between departments when they have committed violations. In many cases, they end up in more impoverished rural areas which typically have difficulty finding qualified candidates.

“What the public is concerned about is that police departments don’t pass off someone that is a problem in one department to another department,” Grand Junction, Colorado police chief and POST vice chairman, John S. Camper, told Mic. Camper disputed the Post’s claim that the primary screenings were not being enforced. “I haven’t heard of that,” he said. “I can tell you in the departments I’ve been in … we do psych tests on everyone.”

The problem of under-qualified officers being given the power of deadly force has had consequences far beyond the state of Colorado. Earlier this year, Robert Bates, a septuagenarian and an Oklahoma Sheriff’s deputy, shot and killed a fleeing suspect. Bates, who was not a career officer, reportedly fired his weapon by mistake when he intended to reach for his Taser. It is unclear whether Bates submitted to a psychological exam before being given a weapon. The Oklahoma Sheriff’s deputy program, however, came under considerable scrutiny for lax security protocols after the incident.

The call for stricter mental health inspection comes as instances of police brutality have been documented with increasing regularity across the country. Videos like those of the shooting of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald and the 50-year-old Walter Scott in South Carolina show officers gunning down suspects as they moved away from them.

While the new Colorado regulation won’t be codified in state law, failure to adhere to the tightened policy could come with severe consequences. Said Camper, “If a person doesn’t comply with this, then they’ve got the potential to not be allowed to be certified as a police officer.”

Jon Levine writes for

  • Wulver

    They should also have to submit to drug and alcohol testing every time they’re involved in an incident resulting in death or serious injury to someone. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • colinjames71

    A step forward, I just hope the psych exams are meaningful. Like any govt mandated process, vultures will be hosting looking for contracts to do the testing. The motivation behind it is great, I’m really stoked to see this, I just hope they do it right do a good precedent will be set and activists in other states can point to its success to implement this in more regions. Also, like Wulver pointed out in the comments, drug and alcohol testing should be mandatory for police.

  • ukalally

    steroid tests also but real tests not the ones the athletes get that designed to have them pass

  • Steven Hines

    Cops already undergo psychological testing and evaluation. They are then selected based on unquestioning stupidity and obedience.

  • nochipforme

    They should undergo a series of rational “yes” or “no” questions to see what their cognitive abilities are, such as:

    1: Do you believe that desert dwelling Arabs with no commercial fight training or experience could fly two thin, aluminum, highly advanced technological commercial airliners into a space slightly bigger than themselves accurately while at speeds beyond their design, and punch through 8 walls of concrete reinforced with solid steel girders, leaving absolutely no pieces of themselves outside of these buildings

    2: Do you believe that such a miracle could possibly cause every single steel support beam of said high rise building to dissolve instantaneously to allow said high rise buildings to free fall and become powder on its way down into its own footprint?

    3. Do you believe that a passport from on board one of those planes could make it to the ground unscathed by impact, fireballs, & explosions

    4: Do you believe it to be possible that some isolated, rogue office fires with optimum peak temperatures of under 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in maybe one or two locations, could melt every single steel beam in a 47 story building necessary for it to free fall into its own footprint becoming dust?

    5: Do you believe that anyone that questions these events should be prosecuted?

    6: Do you believe that a frog can become a man in a day, a week, a million years?

    If they answer “yes” to any one of these questions, these men should be given a shovel and an ax.

    The problem is that they are given a badge, a gun and a huge salary with retirement bennies.

    • jas

      “If they answer “yes” to any one of these questions, these men should be given a shovel and an ax.”


    • drbhelthi

      – not sure about an ax – .

      • nochipforme

        Well, that would be subject to proper oversight by an intelligent and armed task master, of course.

    • Stockinator_9mm

      Super cool.

  • jas

    I thought they already did that and hired the ones who failed the test.

  • yEshUA ImmAnUEl * ben-‘Adam

    “Whatever man does or thinks, will produce a corresponding reaction both upon himself and all things with which he is allied or connected. He who benefits others is actually benefitting himself, while he who injures others, if ever so slightly, is decreeing his own punishment. The acts of men are the external symbols of their interior lives, and every thought and act has a tendency to repeat itself. Thoughts become beings who struggle for life according to the strength given them by the thinker, and who seek to become embodied in acts; and when once embodied, they cling to their life in the same way man clings to his.”

  • amongoose

    It would be help public safety more if politicians were required to have this before they are allowed on the ballot for election, or reelection.

    • LudVanB

      1000 up votes

  • LudVanB

    Barn door and escaped horses? I don’t believe this. Police are already screened and if they have strong enough sociopathic tendencies coupled with a low to average IQ, they are hired.

  • Smokey

    There is about to be job openings in Colorado

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