The red flag law, which went into effect across Colorado on Jan. 1, allows family members to request that a judge issue an extreme risk protection order — a temporary order that removes guns from a …
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The red flag law, which went into effect across Colorado on Jan. 1, allows family members to request that a judge issue an extreme risk protection order — a temporary order that removes guns from a resident whom a family member believes is a danger to themselves or to society. Others who are allowed to request an extreme risk protection order include police officers and household members.
Chad Read, a sergeant and spokesman for the Englewood Police Department, is serving as the department's extreme risk protection coordinator. He is responsible for receipts and services of orders.
“The challenges considered are the proper planning and execution of the order, while keeping in mind the safety of all involved,” said Read.
Each law enforcement agency in the state is required to have a policy on how it will enforce the new law.
According to Englewood police policy, procedures for filing an extreme risk protection order include provisions that require a search warrant to be sought with any petition, that agency counsel is required, plus a process for determining if police are required to attend a hearing for an extreme risk protection order request from a non-officer.
Factors considered by police when assessing whether an extreme risk protection order should be issued include if credible threats have been made, if the potential victim is close to the person making a threat, if the person making the threat has suicidal tendencies and if the person has access to firearms. Other factors that will be considered include the mental health history of the person who had the order filed against them, that person's criminal history, upcoming holidays, anniversaries or dates of significance and if the person has a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Once an extreme risk protection order is presented, Englewood Police are required to provide a notice of the order to a family or household member of the person named in it, according to policy. When an order is filed, police have five days to enforce it.
Police will evaluate each order to determine appropriate service and necessary precautions. Additional time to execute the order may be requested, depending on each circumstance. Englewood police are in the midst of forming an internal committee that will be responsible for assisting an officer if it is an appropriate course of action when enforcing an order, Read said.
“As a police organization, we want to do everything possible to keep our officers, the citizens and those subject to the order safe. We will make every effort to fulfill the requirements of the order, while considering the safety of all involved as our number one priority,” said Read.
Once an order is issued, the resident whose guns are confiscated can choose between giving their firearms to law enforcement for storage or allowing a federally licensed firearms dealer to store or sell the guns.
Read says each instance when the subject of an extreme risk protection order refuses to cooperate will be handled according to the information presented and developed. Under Colorado law, anyone who doesn't comply with the order will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor.
“Accordingly, there is not one specific way in which each and every incident is handled. While there (are) a multitude of considerations in each scenario, the safety of all involved is a main stake in enforcing an extreme risk protection order,” said Read.
After a firearm is taken, a court must set a hearing within 14 days to determine if the temporary order should be extended to a full order of 364 days. If the full order is issued, the person who filed it can seek to renew the order to up to a year after it expires. If the order isn't renewed, the owner of the firearm must have their property returned within three days.
So far, there haven't been any extreme risk protection orders filed by citizens or police in Englewood, Read said.
“This law could very well save lives; however, it is too early to determine the course and outcomes that this new law presents,” said Read.
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