La Crosse Police Department taking action for change

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 6:31 PM CDT
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The shooting of Jacob Blake has led to further discussion over law enforcement procedure.

One local police department is working towards better training and understanding with its community.

Last week, La Crosse leaders participated in a community town hall on policing.

“We had an opportunity to bring together many, many thoughtful people that want to work at really establishing better relationships in our community with community members and with our police department,” said Chief Shawn Kudron of the La Crosse Police Department.

Now the department is taking ideas and turning them into actions.

Starting with working towards the community seeing officers as real people with posts titled ’Behind the Badge.’

“It’s just another way to interact with our community and this is on a social media platform where our community can just understand a little bit more about our officers, who they are as people,” Kudron said. “Our officers call the Coulee Region home.”

The La Crosse Police Department also has a ’Transparency in Policing’ website which shows what training officers receive.

Its invested in Fair and Impartial Police training, but knows one module is not enough and components should be taught on a regular basis.

“We recently had one of our trainers attend all of our shift briefings before the officers go onto the streets for their shift and really just provide some training again on bias by proxy,” Kudron added.

The department is also working on a training that informs on black history--teaming up with UW-La Crosse on a Human Rights Policing pilot project.

Additionally, The La Crosse Police Department is also looking at re-imagining the School Resource Officer role.

“School Resource Officers have opportunities when school is in-session to have a high-number of informal contacts with a lot of students,” Kudron explained. “I believe it’s those informal contacts that can really help us bridge that gap with their families and their loved ones and other people within our community.”

While some in the community are calling to ’Defund the Police,’ Chief Kudron says a properly funded and trained department serves the community in the best way possible.

“To take money away from our department could certainly be detrimental when it comes to trying to provide that training and trying to provide that information,” said Kudron.

The La Crosse Police Department continues to ask the community for help with bridging the gaps and interacting with marginalized communities.

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