Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership (EVRJP), a program of the Estes Park Police Department, and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office are partnering to provide an option for direct referral to restorative processes. The agencies formalized an agreement that allows certain cases that occur in Area 6 of LCSO’s jurisdiction (the Estes Valley), to be eligible for restorative justice in lieu of proceeding with criminal charges.
In restorative justice, the aim is to bring together the person who caused harm, those who were impacted, and members of the community in order to understand the real impacts that the crime or violation has on people and community. Through a structured process facilitated by trained staff and volunteers, participants have an opportunity to share their experience with, and resulting from, the incident. They identify harms and collectively work to identify ways that the person responsible can meaningfully repair those harms. The process and its resulting agreement emphasizes accountability, reparation, and reintegration.
In the summer of 2020, a case involving the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Protection District, and the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office was selected to be a pilot for restorative justice programming. The desired outcome was for the responsible person to better understand the impact of their actions on the community and be more likely to change their behavior. Additionally, the community's concern about the individual causing additional harm through reoffense would be addressed. The case was referred, and a restorative justice process was facilitated to address harm, impact, concern, and reparations. The responsible party successfully met their contract obligations, much of which involved redress to community members most impacted.
In November 2021, the relationship between EVRJP and LCSO was formalized with a memorandum of understanding that enables a direct referral option for restorative justice. “I am pleased that we were able to enter into this agreement with the town to utilize the restorative justice program that they have built up over the years,” stated Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. “In a number of cases, this will allow youth and some adult offenders a better option than criminal court. I think programs like this better serve the citizens of the Estes Valley than traditional criminal justice resources in minor cases.” The partnership allows LCSO deputies in the Estes Valley to refer both youth and adults to EVRJP’s Community Group Conference restorative justice program in lieu of issuing a summons or arrest. Later this month, the LCSO sergeant, corporal and deputies that provide law enforcement services to the Estes Valley will receive training on how to utilize the restorative option.
“We are excited for this opportunity to partner with LCSO to provide additional tools and options for deputies to utilize to meet victim, offender and community needs, and to facilitate processes that build and restore community.” said EVRJP Director Denise Lord.
Estes Valley Restorative Justice Partnership is a hybrid municipal nonprofit organization and affiliate of the Town of Estes Park Police Department. To learn more about EVRJP, visit www.estes.org/restorativejustice. To learn more about LCSO, visit www.larimer.org/sheriff.