La Crosse community learns about fair and impartial police training

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - The La Crosse community is receiving an education on biases through the lens of policing.

A presentation by former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray on Wednesday discussed the practice of Fair & Impartial Policing.

Wray says everyone has implicit biases which affect behavior, but police officers need to eliminate those biases due to the nature of their profession.

“When you’re responsible for service, justice, and fundamental fairness, that’s why this is an important topic because you can, in this particular field, take away someone’s freedom,” Wray explained. “You can use force, up to and including deadly force.”

La Crosse Police Chief Shawn Kudron says the department has trained on fair and impartial practices since 2016, and it’s a topic that is continually discussed.

“The more education that our officers have on understanding what bias truly means, the better that they can do their job,” Kudron added.

Kudron wants the community to understand what officers learn through the training, which is what lead to Wednesday’s presentation.

A grant from Mayo Clinic Health System’s EverybodyIN Fund for Change helped bring Wray to La Crosse.

Kudron says the goal of the presentation was to educate the community and help the department be more transparent.

“We felt that this was just another opportunity to continue moving in the right direction to relate with our community better, understand how bias can impact community relationships, and have all of us move forward together,” Kudron detailed.

Wray says he’s given similar presentations around the state and across the country, but often in areas reacting to a crisis.

He applauds the La Crosse Police Department for having him discuss the topic proactively.

“It’s a great idea for La Crosse to be able to do this without there being a crisis,” Wray expressed. “That means that La Crosse, this community, is willing to step up and talk about this at an important time.”

Kudron says the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office recently started a similar training program, and there’s interest from other departments in the county as well.

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