Independent probe shows standard procedures violated in warrantless Longmont K-9 apartment searches

LONGMONT, Colo. – An independent investigation into the warrantless police K-9 searches done earlier this year at a Longmont subsidized housing unit found the two K-9 handlers and their superior violated standard procedures in getting consent to enter eight apartments.

The independent investigation was done by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office and was released Wednesday as part of a settlement between the city of Longmont and the ACLU of Colorado, which was announced mid-November.

Denver7 broke the story about allegations that Longmont officers and their K-9s had gone along with Longmont Housing Authority workers during a May inspection at The Suites, and entered people’s apartments without a warrant. Continue reading

Colorado children’s health insurance program gets funding extension through February

DENVER – Colorado’s children health insurance program will be funded through at least February, as the state budget committee approved emergency funding that will temporarily stop cancellation notices from being sent out next week.

The Joint Budget Committee on Thursday approved Gov. John Hickenlooper’s request for $9.6 million to continue covering the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), which provides health insurance coverage for around 75,000 children and about 800 expectant mothers in Colorado who don’t qualify for Medicaid. Continue reading

Colorado Democrats vote against stopgap spending bill with no long-term DACA, CHIP fixes

DENVER – Congress voted Thursday to pass a continuing spending bill that will fund the federal government through Jan. 19 when it is signed by President Trump, but all of Colorado’s Democratic delegation voted against the measure, saying Congress should stay and extend programs for young immigrants and children’s health insurance before going home for the holidays.

In the House, Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis voted against another funding extension, while Sen. Michael Bennet made the same choice in the Senate. All four House Republicans and Sen. Cory Gardner voted in favor of the temporary package. Continue reading

Flake says bipartisan DACA talks, which include Colorado’s senators, to Senate floor in January

DENVER – The bipartisan talks to get DACA extended in Congress before March, some of which include involvement from both of Colorado’s U.S. senators, will be brought to the Senate floor in January, Sen. Jeff Flake says he was told by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Flake made the announcement Wednesday after the Senate and House passed a sweeping tax cut package.

“I am also pleased that the Majority Leader has committed to bring the bipartisan DACA bill we are currently negotiating to the Senate floor in January,” Flake said Wednesday, adding that he was happy the GOP tax bill lowers the corporate tax rate.

Denver7 first reported earlier this month that Flake, an Arizona Republican who isn’t seeking re-election, was working with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to put together a DACA deal that would include the Dream Act and some border security measures. The team had initially sought to have a deal by the year’s end, but that now appears unlikely. Continue reading

ACLU seeking information from ICE on Colorado man’s in-custody death

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado is asking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for more information and records relating to the in-custody death of an Iranian man at the private Aurora detention facility.

Kamyar Samimi, 64, was arrested by ICE agents in Denver on Nov. 17—more than 12 years after he was convicted of cocaine possession in Arapahoe County.

ICE said Samimi “fell ill” on Dec. 2, that emergency responders came to the GEO Group-operated detention center and started performing CPR, and that Samimi later died after being taken to an area hospital. Continue reading

NRSC’s Cory Gardner responds to Jones win: ‘Do the right thing’ and vote with Senate Republicans

DENVER – Sen. Cory Gardner, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Tuesday that Alabama voters deemed Roy Moore unfit for election, but also that he hopes Democratic victor Doug Jones will vote with Republicans once in the U.S. Senate.

“Tonight’s results are clear – the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Gardner said in a statement. “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.” Continue reading

Hickenlooper and bipartisan panel of governors call for immediate CHIP reauthorization

DENVER – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper continued to press Congress to restore the Children’s Health Insurance Program before states’ funding dries up, sending a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders signed by him and 11 other governors from both parties.

“Since its creation, CHIP has enjoyed strong bipartisan support. We encourage you to work across the aisle to find common ground that will allow this important program to continue and give the families who rely on CHIP the peace of mind of knowing that their children will be able to get the health care they need in the new year,” the letter said, which was written by Hickenlooper and Republican Gov. John Kasich, among 10 others. Continue reading

Ex-Lake County undersheriff Fernando Mendoza indicted on 7 counts amid harassment, other allegations

LAKE COUNTY, Colo. – Former Lake County undersheriff Fernando Mendoza was arrested Tuesday following a grand jury indictment on seven charges relating to his alleged harassment of several 911 dispatchers, as first reported by Denver7. He was also indicted on attempted child sex charges and embezzlement.

A Denver7 report called Mendoza into question on Nov. 7 related to claims he sexually harassed several women in his office. Mendoza was fired from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office several weeks ago in response to those allegations. Continue reading

Marijuana use among Colorado teens declines again, government report shows

DENVER – Colorado adolescents are using marijuana at the lowest rate in a decade, and the rates at which the same group of children are using it continues to decline since recreational marijuana went on sale here in 2014, according to new data published by the federal government.

The new data comes from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health yearly report, which is performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

According to the report, the rate by which children aged 12-17 have used marijuana in the past month fell from 11.13 percent in 2014-15 to 9.08 percent in 2015-16. Continue reading

Police: Former DougCo school staffer shot upskirt videos of students

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. – The former Douglas County School District staffer arrested Friday on sexual exploitation of a child charges recorded “upskirt” videos of at least two underage girls and several other women, according to police records released Monday.

Steven Michael Jenkins, 55, made his first court appearance Monday morning. He is being investigated on sexual exploitation of a child charges. Continue reading