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Bipartisan plan for police use of force action

Posted at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON – State Senate Judiciary & Public Safety Committee Chairman Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, ranking member Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Senator Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, announced on January 20 an agreement on seven bills focused on maintaining effective law enforcement service while improving the accountability and transparency of police and increasing community involvement.

The package was developed through conversations last summer between the senators, law enforcement, and reform advocates.

{<<Sen. Van Wanggaard]

The legislative package of bills, known as the Public Safety PACT, includes the following bills:

  • Reforms to the dysfunctional and controversial Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission and Madison Police and Fire Commission (LRB 21-0158*) 

  • Creation of a first-in-the-nation advisory board to analyze use-of-force incidents and recommend ways to prevent them (LRB 21-0074*). The board's work-concept mirrors that of the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates plane, rail and ship crashed and disasters

  • Whistleblower protections and mandatory use of force reporting for police (LRB 21- 0075*) 

  • A Community-Oriented Policing (COP) grant program (LRB 21-0184*) 

  • Publication of use-of-force policies (LRB 21-0076*) 

  • Annual reporting of use-of-force incidents (LRB 21-0160*) 

  • Prohibiting training the use of chokeholds (LRB 21-0183*)

[Note: * denotes the draft bill number created by the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau]

Senators Wanggaard, Taylor and Darling and others have been developing these proposals over the last several months, and years. The bills were written with input from law enforcement, activists, and others. The bills were put out for co-sponsorship today, and will be formally introduced in the Senate in February.

“Increasing accountability and transparency for the police, while also increasing community involvement is something we all can agree on,” said Wanggaard. “I’m so glad that Senator Taylor and I, along with law enforcement and reform advocates can agree on these meaningful steps to improve police service.”

“I have long been an advocate for police reform and the move to more community policing,” said Taylor. “These bills are a strong step forward. I appreciate Senator Wanggaard partnering with me to make these critical improvements.”

“Law Enforcement does a great job, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better,” said Darling, “I’m excited and encouraged to find common ground to foster a better relationship between the police and the communities they serve.”

Wanggaard is a retired Racine Police officer.


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