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Wisconsin Professional Police Association calls for change

“Blueprint for Change” highlights certain areas where police can improve
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 11:50 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) is calling for change.

The organization released a series of proposals Wednesday to improve the law enforcement profession statewide. The effort is called a “Blueprint for Change”.

“It’s really an effort on our part to reflect, to look inward, and consider ways to strengthen the law enforcement profession and the relationships our officers have with the communities they serve,” said Jim Palmer, executive director of the WPPA. “We hope first and foremost to play a direct role in driving the public discourse, but we also want that discourse to lead to some concrete and meaningful action.

After the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, the profession of policing has come under the microscope once again.

“Far too often following a controversial law enforcement ‘use of force’ incident, as the public attention and media attention goes away, so does any real discussion about what needs to change with regard to policing and the issues related,” said Palmer.

“I think in the wake of George Floyd and more significantly in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, we have seen the national reckoning and public dialogue that surrounds policing become more intense, more volatile, and more polarizing,” he added.

The plan calls for a uniformed policy on use of force saying, “that deadly force is to be used only as a last resort.”

The plan also establishes uniform de-escalation training requirements and prohibits the use of choke-holds, except in life or death situations.

Palmer says de-escalation training is already a prominent feature for police training in Wisconsin. He says in the past, there have been proposals for some kind of minimum standard when it comes to the number of hours officers spend practicing de-escalation each year. He says it makes sense to have a minimum statewide standard.

He also says the choke-holds are not part of police training and he has no problem officially prohibiting the practice.

“Wisconsin is blessed to have some of the best law enforcement officers in the country. Our training, I believe, I second to none but there are always opportunities for us to make improvements,” said Palmer.

In the meantime, Palmer believes the drive for social justice and supporting and improving law enforcement can co-exist.

“We have leaders at every level of government, frankly, who are failing to demonstrate that nuance and that’s the kind of leadership we need right now in order to bring people together to enact some meaningful reform,”

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