Investigation critical of Longmont PD's participation in apartment inspections

Independent investigation led by Weld County
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 14, 2017

LONGMONT, Colo. – An independent investigation conducted by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office is pointing to missteps by the Longmont Police Department over its handling of a request by the Longmont Housing Authority.

The report found that LPD's participation in warrantless searches at an apartment complex back in May was “not consistent” with department standards. 

That is how Longmont Police summarized the report's findings in a news release sent out Friday afternoon. The full report detailing the closed investigation by the sheriff's office has yet to be released.

The sheriff's investigation came after the Longmont Housing Authority invited LPD officers and a K-9 unit along on inspections of a complex it manages. 

A resident of the Suites Supportive Housing Community raised the issue to Denver7 back in June after receiving a letter in May from the housing authority that read in part, “We will occasionally have K-9 units with LPD accompany us for purposes of training and compliance.”

The Longmont Police Department told Denver7 the housing authority’s request was in response to a rise in illegal drug activity and an overdose death at the complex. It eventually ended the program after media attention and expressed regret about what happened.

After the program had ended, Longmont Pubic Safety Chief Mike Butler said the department was making changes to ensure that "this never happens again."

Butler publicly outlined those changes in June, which included efforts to clarify policies on when K-9s are to be used and improving communication within the department. Longmont Police said Friday that those policy changes are "all in place and appropriate." 

Additionally, the Longmont Department of Public Safety has initiated an internal administrative review, which will be examined by a panel of Longmont residents.

It's not clear if the report touched on the constitutionality of LPD's program. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.