COLO. SPRINGS – Battling a recall election, Senate President John Morse has boasted that police support him and his impassioned push for gun-control laws. But in his own backyard, a police association wants Morse booted out of office.
The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association, which represents more than 800 city law enforcement members, held a press conference Wednesday to encourage voters to vote “yes” to recall Morse. They also endorsed Republican Bernie Herpin to replace Morse.
“We are asking the citizens of Senate District 11 to vote yes to recall John Morse and replace him with Bernie Herpin to give us an actual advocate for law-abiding citizens,” said Officer Barry Freeman, who serves on the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association (CSPPA) Board of Directors
CSPPA members cited several reasons for their decision to support the recall of Morse – including the Democrat lawmaker using a photo of himself in a law enforcement uniform in campaign materials, and his assertions of passing legislation that would protect the public, especially children, from criminals.
Morse has been soft criminals and made police officers’ jobs tougher in the eyes of CSPPA.
“While we’re working to keep our streets safe for law-abiding citizens, Senator Morse has disarmed law-abiding citizens and tried to let more criminals out of state prisons,” said Officer Mike Ray, CSPPA Board of Directors. “He’s working against rank-and-file police officers and must be stopped. We need a change.”
For example, CSPPA cited a Senate bill that would have increased mandatory sentences for convicted criminals who sexually abused children that Morse voted against in 2008. The bill was supported by Republicans but killed by Morse and fellow Democrats in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In 2009, Morse sponsored Senate Bill 286 to soften prison terms that included reducing felony convictions to misdemeanor offenses. But, Morse’s bill apparently was too extreme for most Democrat legislators and Gov. Bill Ritter. Back to the drawing board, Morse gutted the bill – the final product was a request for a commission to study his proposed crime and penalty reductions. It passed and Ritter signed it into law.
Morse also introduced Senate Bill 288 in 2009 that would have set a limit on the number of prisoners incarcerated in state prisons – that drew criticism from law enforcement officials. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and district attorneys from across the state held a press conference to protest the bill at the state Capitol.
In Morse’s home territory, law enforcement and elected officials criticized the bill because the costs of incarcerating prisoners would be forced on them instead of the state. Morse finally withdrew the bill.
“During his time in the senate, John Morse didn’t ask for our input once on public safety issues and consequently passed legislation that made our jobs tougher,” said Officer Barry Freeman, who serves on the CSPPA Board of Directors.
For the past 25 years, Herpin volunteered to help the Colorado Springs Police Department in several programs including the Senior Victims Assistance Team and DUI Enforcement Team.
“Morse has ignored us and our concerns while Bernie Herpin has worked hard for us for decades. This endorsement was a no-brainer,” said CSPPA Board Director Tim Ives.