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Training Video for Law Enforcement on Library Law

Jefferson County Public Library

Innovation Leader: Ann Cress, Deputy Executive Director, Ann.Cress@jeffcolibrary.org

Problem Statement

Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) was experiencing increasing friction between JCPL staff and local law enforcement officers over patron privacy and confidentiality when officers requested information on library users. The friction was negatively impacting the Library’s relationship with law enforcement agencies and law enforcement’s attitude towards the Library. The tension seemed to arise because of a lack of understanding by law enforcement about the Colorado Library Law.

Innovation

We wanted to assure local law enforcement of our desire to support their efforts, while educating them on constraints imposed by the Library Law. To that end, JCPL convened a task force of Library Administration, the county attorney, the district attorney and representatives of the various law enforcement agencies serving our libraries to discuss the situation and improve the working relationship between the Library and County law enforcement agencies.

Progress

JCPL developed a seven-minute training video regarding privacy of user records under the Colorado Library Law and gave copies of the video to all law enforcement agencies. The video, now used by all police departments in the county to train officers, includes the county attorney’s interpretation of the law, the district attorney’s statement on chain of custody issues connected with evidence provided by the Library and the Library’s instructions to staff on how to handle requests for information from law enforcement agencies. Thanks to the use of the training video by police and library, the relationship between law enforcement officers and JCPL staff is once again supportive and cooperative.