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Bills Would Set Statewide Police Use of Force Policies in Wisconsin

May 18, 2017  | 

A set of Democratic bills proposed Wednesday would set statewide policies for police use of force in Wisconsin. But the head of the state's largest law enforcement union says many of those rules are already in place throughout the state, reports the Capital Times.

The legislation, being circulated for co-sponsorship, would set specific requirements for law enforcement agencies' use of force policies, require those policies be published online and require law enforcement officers to participate in at least eight hours of training per year in use of force options, focusing on tactics that would minimize the level of force.

The bills aim to "find common ground" to keep law enforcement and community members safe, said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison.

Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said some of the proposals being discussed have merit — specifically, the additional training hours and the requirement that agencies publish their policies online. Requiring a policy addressing interactions with people with mental disorders is also a good idea, Palmer said, but he thinks it should have been introduced as its own separate bill.

"Much of what is included in these bills already exists," Palmer said. "To propose them under the guise of creating something new is misleading and disingenuous, and in suggesting that these proposals will make Wisconsin safer, these contrived bills are sure to over-promise and under-deliver."

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