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Evers, Barnes announce police reform legislation

Police Lights

MADISON (WKOW) -- The governor's office announced a package of nine bills Friday designed to address reforms called for in recent protests against police brutality.

The proposals cover a broad swath of areas, including banning the use of chokeholds by law enforcement, creating statewide standards for use of force and mandate annual eight-hour training sessions on force and deescalation.

Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes announced the legislation in a press release sent Friday morning.

The package of legislation includes:  

  • LRB 6273: 
    • Establishes statewide use of force standards for all law enforcement agencies that includes that the primary duty of law enforcement is to preserve the life of all individuals; that deadly force is to be used only as the last resort; that officers should use skills and tactics that minimize the likelihood that force will become necessary; that, if officers must use physical force, it should be the least amount of force necessary to safely address the threat; and that law enforcement officers must take reasonable action to stop or prevent any unreasonable use of force by their colleagues;
    • Prohibits discipline of a law enforcement officer for reporting a violation of a law enforcement agency's use of force policy; and
    • Requires the Law Enforcement Standards Board (LESB) to develop a model use of force policy for law enforcement agencies.
  • LRB 6274:
    • ​Requires each law enforcement officer to annually complete at least eight hours of training on use of force options and de-escalation techniques.
  • LRB 6275: 
    • Creates a $1,000,000 grant program, administered by the Department of Justice, to fund community organizations that are utilizing evidence-based outreach and violence interruption strategies to mediate conflicts, prevent retaliation and other potentially violent situations, and connect individuals to community supports.
  • LRB 6276: 
    • Requires law enforcement agencies to develop policies prohibiting the use of chokeholds.
  • LRB 6277:
    • Requires each law enforcement agency to not only prepare a policy regarding the use of force by its law enforcement officers, but to make it available publicly online.
  • LRB 6281: 
    • Creates a civil cause of action for unnecessarily summoning a law enforcement officer with intent to infringe upon a right of the person under the Wisconsin Constitution or the U.S. Constitution; unlawfully discriminate against the person; cause the person to feel harassed, humiliated, or embarrassed; cause the person to be expelled from a place in which the person is lawfully located; damage the person's reputation or standing within the community; or damage the person's financial, economic, consumer, or business prospects or interests.
  • LRB 6283: 
    • Requires that the Department of Justice publish an annual report on use of force incidents, including incidents where there was a shooting, where a firearm was discharged in the direction of a person (even if there was no injury), and where other serious bodily harm resulted from the incident; and
    • Requires certain demographic information to be collected about each incident and reported annually by DOJ on its website. 
  • LRB 6289: 
    • Prohibits no-knock search warrants.
  • LRB 6292:
    • Makes certain changes to the responsibilities of the LESB, including requiring LESB to also regulate jail and juvenile detention officer training standards and regulate recruitment standards for the recruiting of new law enforcement, jail, and juvenile detention officers;
    • Requires each law enforcement agency to maintain an employment file for each employee; and
    • Requires each potential candidate for a position in an agency, jail, or facility that is or has been employed by a different agency, jail, or facility to authorize their previous employer to disclose his or her employment files to the hiring entity.

JT Cestkowski

Social Media Content Producer/Desk Editor

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