Wisconsin governor asks lawmakers to pass bill to reform use of force policies

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MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers says he is calling on the Legislature to pass Assembly Bill 1012 which “would reform our use of force policies by prioritizing preserving life and minimizing the use of force and send it to my desk for signature.”

Bill 1012, which was introduced on March 20, failed to pass in April. It would require:

“…each law enforcement agency to ensure that its publicly available policy on the use of force incorporates the following principles: that the primary duty of all 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.”

The bill would also prohibit the disciplining of a law enforcement officer for reporting a violation of the agency’s policy regarding the use of force. The representatives presenting the bill say it would require the Law Enforcement Standards Board to develop a model use of force policy for law enforcement agencies that “must address interactions with individuals with mental disorders, alcohol or drug problems, dementia disorders, and developmental disabilities; limit the use of force against vulnerable populations; and include other best practices that LESB identifies.”

Gov. Evers released a statement in response to the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests occurring throughout the state, saying in part, “We must confront society’s comfort with racism. We must re-establish trust with communities of color. We must be willing to listen, we must be willing to be uncomfortable, we must be willing to do the work.”

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