Colorado police officer recertified despite guilty plea

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This spring, Geiger, 52, joined the town of Nunn’s police department, recently leading the small Weld County law enforcement agency as interim chief. “This is a man who should not be wearing a badge,” Brown said when he learned from The Denver Post that Geiger was back on the job. “And it discredits the integrity of the criminal justice system, as well as the hiring practices of local law enforcement agencies, who obviously are not doing thorough background searches or who are not making decisions in the best interest of their communities.”

When the former Georgetown officer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment in 2018 — a conviction that triggers an automatic revocation of an officer’s state certification — then-Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown lauded the move as weeding out “bad apples” in law enforcement and said blocking Geiger from working again as a Colorado police officer was a “fundamental goal of the prosecution.” But just two years after Geiger’s conviction, the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board reinstated Geiger — exercising its power, in certain circumstances, to exempt officers convicted of crimes from being decertified. Geiger declined to comment when reached by The Post on Wednesday. Town officials in Nunn did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Geiger’s hiring.

His case highlights the power the Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, board can wield to keep officers who have been convicted of crimes in their jobs, even as Colorado state lawmakers work to increase police accountability and crack down on the years-long problem of officers with poor track records migrating from department to department. “It is clear here that they exercised that authority inappropriately and contrary to the needs of the community by allowing an officer with a long history of misconduct across two states for both use of force and deceptive behavior,” Brown said of the POST decision in Geiger’s case, adding the board’s exemption power creates a “loophole” in officer discipline that he believes should be legislatively closed.

Geiger’s case began in 2016, when he was working as a Georgetown police officer and filling out paperwork at a desk across from a DUI suspect in a booking cell. The door on the booking cell did not latch, and the suspect began to bang the metal door open and shut. Geiger reacted by pulling the man from the cell and pushing him against a wall, briefly twisting the man’s arm behind him and causing him pain. It was a use of force that was completely unnecessary, Brown said. “All Geiger had to do was leave him in his cell,” Brown said.

“The POST system worked” Geiger was indicted by a grand jury and in 2018 pleaded guilty to harassment involving a strike or a shove. It’s one of 43 misdemeanor convictions that automatically trigger POST decertification. Geiger lost his certification to work as a police officer in Colorado later that year. But he was reinstated on appeal in 2020, a power the POST board can exercise if it finds mitigating circumstances around the conviction and that the officer’s return to the job is in the public interest, according to POST’s published rules.

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