PUEBLO — This week, News 5 learned that the Pueblo Police Department’s “arrest control training” program did not meet state standards. This “ACT” program is taught as part of law enforcement academy recruits.
You can read the PPD press release here.
“I wish I could say that conclusion was wrong, but after our internal review it was not only correct, it was the only conclusion POST could make,” Chief Chris Noeller said. “Due to concerns about the FBI Defensive Tactics Heavy Hit Program and concerns over SB 217, I issued guidance in early 2021 to teach additional defensive tactical techniques to limit hitting issues. fist especially in our current environment I am committed, as I know the training unit personnel are also committed to moving forward, learning from it and finding a way to get a POST-approved defensive tactics program that addresses my concerns and equips our officers with the skills to safely take resistant people into custody without the need for a strike in most cases.”
On March 21, 2022, the Colorado Department of Justice issued a compliance order addressing the violations and issuing 7 different penalties.
“The Pueblo Police Department Law Enforcement Academy (PPDLEA) is currently non-compliant and in violation of the Peace Officer Training and Standards Council (POST) rules,” the letter reads. . “Upon further investigation, it emerged that PPDLEA was using non-POST approved arrest control discipline in its training with recruits.”
The letter also addressed an issue with the academy’s lead instruction, Sgt. Gabe Maldonado.
“It has come to light that since Senior Instructor Sergeant Gabe Maldonado took over the ACT program with PPDLEA’S 63rd academy class on March 24, 2021, Sgt. Maldonado added numerous maneuvers outside the scope of FBI tactics to PPDLEA’s ACT program,” the letter reads. “It was noted that a few years ago Sgt. Maldonado met with representatives of the POST ACT Subject Matter Expert (SME) committee, including in particular the president, and asked to move to a hybrid ACT program. At that time, Sgt. Maldonado was made aware of the requirements to make such a change, but he did not submit a new program to POST.
Following this state investigation, POST implemented the following sanctions with immediate effect:
-The Law Enforcement Academy “ACT” program will stop teaching for future classes
-Class 63 graduates must either accept a temporary suspension of their POST certification with immediate effect, or POST may take urgent action against their certificates through the Office of Administrative Tribunals. The suspension of the graduate’s certificates will only be lifted by successfully completing a POST-approved Basic Arrest Control Tactics program or passing a POST ACT test.
-Cadets in Class 64 (this week’s class) are not required to graduate or take the POST written exam until they have successfully completed a POST-approved Basic Arrest Control Tactics curriculum , or after passing a POST ACT test.
– Lead Instructor Gabe Maldonado is prohibited from teaching the program or skills at any POST academy until further notice.
-This program must be resubmitted with a POST approved course for the ACT discipline and it must comply with all POST rules.
-A new academy schedule must be resubmitted by March 29, 2022 to accommodate the schedule change required by the ACT training break
-The Pueblo Police Department Law Enforcement Academy is placed on probation until April 1, 2023, resulting in increased compliance monitoring by POST.
You can read the full state compliance letter here.
You can also read the full POST Inspection Report from the Pueblo Police Department Law Enforcement Academy here.
Prior to publication, News 5 sent both documents to the Pueblo Police Department to verify the validity of the information we obtained.
“We agree with the documents you have received and the information contained therein,” Officer Meagan Chapman said via email.
This is a developing story and new information will be posted as it becomes available.