Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on Friday, June 19, unveiled a legislative package "to increase accountability and transparency in policing in Wisconsin," and called for bipartisan action by the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

The announcement was made on Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, and amid protests nationwide sparked by the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Racism and racial disparities can’t be solved with any single bill or package of bills, or person — it’s on all of us, together," Evers said in a news release. "We must meet this movement with our empathy and our compassion, but most of all we must meet it with action.”

COMMUNITY POLICING: Use of force, citizen complaints and body cameras: Here’s where area law enforcement leaders stand on the issues

Some highlights of the proposed legislation include:

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  • Establish statewide use-of-force standards for all law enforcement agencies that includes that the primary duty of law enforcement is to preserve the life of all individuals.
  • Require each law enforcement officer in the state to annually complete at least eight hours of training on use-of-force options and de-escalation techniques.
  • Require law enforcement agencies to develop policies prohibiting the use of chokeholds.
  • Require law enforcement agencies to make use-of-force policies available publicly online.
  • Require the Department of Justice to publish an annual report on use-of-force incidents.
  • Ban no-knock search warrants.
  • Create a civil cause of action for unnecessarily summoning a law enforcement officer with intent to infringe upon a right of the person under the Wisconsin Constitution or the U.S. Constitution; unlawfully discriminate against the person; cause the person to feel harassed, humiliated, or embarrassed; cause the person to be expelled from a place in which the person is lawfully located; damage the person's reputation or standing within the community; or damage the person's financial, economic, consumer, or business prospects or interests.

In Minnesota, the state House of Representatives advanced a set of police accountability and criminal justice measures to the Senate on a 71-59 vote, teeing up expected opposition from the GOP-led chamber.

Editor's note: This story is part of our ongoing coverage of community policing in our communities — and we want to hear from you. If you have a question, experience or opinion to share, contact us at news@rivertowns.net.