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LETTER: Qualified immunity is a vital protection for police officers

The Review-Journal’s June 28 editorial praised a new Colorado law “that allows citizens to bring claims in state civil court against police who violate their rights under state law.”

Qualified immunity was designed to protect law enforcement oifficers who must make split-second decisions when confronted with life-threatening situations. Essentially, if they made a reasonable decision based on information available at the time, they are personally immune from lawsuits.

The Review-Journal argues “the Colorado law makes it more likely that those who have been wronged get an equitable legal solution.”

The editorial’s position is wrong. Police officers indeed deserve protections from claims that stem from their difficult daily duties. Qualified immunity is a necessary protection for law enforcement departments and individual officers.

When coming upon any violent scene, any decision made is subject to a lawsuit. If the officer is aggressive in saving the victim, who is later proven not to need saving, he will be sued for everything he owns. If the officer doesn’t save the victim, who is later proven to actually need saving, he will be sued for that action, too.

Who in their right mind would start (or continue) any law enforcement career when any reading of a fast-changing violent situation could completely destroy his or her life?

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