Feb 11, 2022 - News

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes new crime-fighting pledge

Gov. Jared Polis delivers his state of the state speech in January. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images

Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday vowed to make Colorado one of the 10 safest states in the nation in the next five years.

State of play: The governor made the election-year pledge on the steps of the Capitol where he was surrounded by Democratic sheriffs, lawmakers and allies in a demonstration of support for his previously announced proposal to spend an additional $113 million on public safety in the next two years.

Reality check: Polis called the package "historic," but it's a just a decimal point in the billions of extra dollars Democrats have to spend in this year's budget.

  • Moreover, Republicans call the move gaslighting and not all Democrats are enamored with the plan to provide communities with grants to address mental health and new violence diversion programs.

Between the lines: Pressed on whether it's enough, Polis backpedaled, telling Axios Denver it's "a strong start."

  • Polis also later clarified that his pledge only applies to violent crime and property crime. The state currently sits in the middle of the pack in these categories.

The other side: Polis blamed the pandemic for the increase in reported crimes, but Republicans blame him for signing into law policies designed to reduce prison populations and bring more accountability to policing.

  • "The desire to enact policy just months before an election does not go unnoticed by the voters," House GOP leader Hugh McKean said in a statement. "His plan still fails to address the policies that the General Assembly passed and that he signed into law."
  • Furthermore, the associations for police chiefs, county sheriffs and the Fraternal Order of Police have declined to endorse the Polis’ budget proposal until he revisits the prior policies enacted.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

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