In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, I want to know one thing from every law enforcement department in the country: How will you prevent such deaths in the future? What actions will you take on an ongoing basis -- in the absence of any complaint -- to ensure officers perform as intended.

I haven’t seen misbehavior by the various police and sheriff’s departments in the St. Croix Valley, but in preparation for a day I hope never comes, I’d like the departments to publicly communicate detailed policies for restraint and for use of deadly force. What training do they do? How often do they retrain? How do they audit field performance, such as review of samples of body cam footage? What do they do when they see a deviation from policy in use of restraint or force? What’s their success rate in adhering to policy? How has that rate changed in recent history?

Why would I “pick on” my local law enforcement when they haven’t done anything wrong? I’m not picking on them. When my bosses asked for information on my quality or safety or production performance, I never felt picked on. It was part of the job. I had to provide history, status, and plans in scheduled review meetings even when we’d had no problems. I’m certain the chiefs and sheriffs are used to this, too. In fact it won’t surprise me to find they’ve been reporting on these efforts internally for years; but if they’ve done it publicly, I haven’t seen it yet.

I call on Governors Tony Evers and Tim Walz to demand the same type of public review from every police organization in Wisconsin and Minnesota on a regular basis.

Bob Maline

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