FORT COLLINS, Colorado — Fort Collins' new police officers will face more intense psychological screening and background checks following criticism from the City Council and the public over former police officer Jarrett Branson's conviction on stalking charges.
Chief John Hutto said police will no longer accept at face-value investigations done by outside agencies when considering hiring an applicant. The department will also rely on its own independent investigations.
Hutto said the psychological screening process will also be more comprehensive and performed early in the hiring process.
After Branson's firing last year and conviction for stalking a woman, residents and city council members wanted to know how a man who faced allegations of inappropriate sexual contact while working in Butte, Montana, made it onto the Fort Collins police force.
Branson was accused of sexual misconduct while he worked for the Butte police department in 2011. Authorities said law enforcement there could not substantiate the claims after an investigation and Branson had a clean record, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported (http://tinyurl.com/k5d6shl ).
"Branson received excellent reviews, had received formal awards for his work with female victims, there was no discipline in his personnel file and he was regarded by his command staff as a bright, energetic young officer that the employing agency would be sorry to lose," Hutto wrote in a memo to the Fort Collins City Council.
The fired Fort Collins police officer was sentenced in April to four years in prison for stalking a woman.
Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan, http://www.coloradoan.com
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