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New bill would change the way officer-involved shootings are handled


A new bill in the Wisconsin State Legislature would make two big changes to the way officer-involved shootings are handled.
 

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- As the investigation into an officer-involved shooting in Neillsville on Friday morning begins, lawmakers at the Wisconsin State Capitol have already been talking about the issue this week.

State Rep. Garey Bies has introduced a bill that would make changes to the way officer-involved shootings are handled.

The idea was brought up after a Kenosha family felt their son was wrongfully shot.

"There was a lot of untruthfulness and cover-up of the facts occurred," he said.

That family ended up receiving $2 million dollars in a civil lawsuit.

His bill would make two big changes. The first would require all agencies to have a policy in place on investigating an officer. There would need to be a minimum of three investigators, two of which should be from outside agencies, something he says is already common.

"It gives the victim's family the ability to know the investigation was done fairly and unbiasedly," he said.

The second change it would bring is setting up a review board at the state level that would give the cases a second look. That board could include a retired judge, sheriff, police chief and even a criminal justice professor.

"What I would like to see is another agency come in because we have policy and protocol related to when you shoot and when you don't shoot," said Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer.

He says Eau Claire Police did the investigation the last time his department had an officer-involved shooting. His issue with the bill is the added step of the review board.

"This legislation puts another element time layer into the deferring that officer for coming back," he said.

He says that keeps the officer off the street and not able to do their job. He believes the power should continue to stay with the district attorney to decide if an officer involved in a shooting should return to work.

"The public needs to trust their district attorney that he knows the elements before we discharge a weapon or have an in custody death," he added.


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