The Town of Windsor, along with other Northern Colorado communities, received a joint letter from the American Civil Liberties Union, (“ACLU”) and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (“National Law Center”) dated Aug. 28, 2018. The ACLU asked (“Required Action”) that we immediately stop enforcing this section, immediately initiate the steps necessary to repeal and dismiss any pending prosecutions under this section. This information was simultaneously sent to all the press in the area, as well.
In response, the following statement was issued by Windsor’s Mayor Kristie Melendez:
“I, and the majority of my town board members, take issue with the ACLU letter’s broad statements on how we are unfairly targeting the poor and homeless and suggesting that our law enforcement at any time will set out to criminalize homelessness and extreme poverty. Nothing could be further from the truth. Had the ACLU bothered to check with Windsor prior to sending this letter and alerting the media, they would have discovered that Windsor’s municipal codes were currently under review. The Town was already contemplating its repeal of this code and was working on making the necessary changes to be in compliance with the current status of the law. Windsor has no history that this section of the Windsor Municipal Code has ever been used, cited or even prosecuted! Our police officers work hard and are diligent and caring problem solvers and enforcers who respond reasonably and with compassion; one of the reasons we were just named Colorado’s safest community. We disagree with the concurrent publicity without being given an opportunity to respond. We resent the broad comparisons without the ACLU making efforts to fact check on what our community is really doing in handling these sensitive situations. We are public servants, and our first duty in serving as elected officials is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of our community.
Our municipal codes are constantly under review for compliance with newly enacted legislation and/or recent judicial determinations. This targeted section states, (4) ‘Any person wandering abroad and begging; or any person who goes about from door to door of private homes or commercial and business establishments, or places himself or herself in or upon, any public way or public place to beg or receive contribution for himself or herself.’ In light of recent court rulings, the Town was already contemplating its repeal.
While the Town will institute proceedings to repeal Windsor Municipal Code § 10-4-110(4), we believe there was no need for these bullying tactics from the ACLU and we intend to continue to protect our citizens from criminal and aggressive behavior without impairing judicially-recognized constitutional protections.”
For more information, contact:Kristie MelendezMayor, Town of Windsor970firstname.lastname@example.org