Wisconsin Professional Police Association

Friday, January 30, 2015
Jim Palmer: 608-273-3840
State’s New Officer-Involved Shooting Law May Serve as National Standard
(Madison, WI) – A national task force established by President Obama to explore
ways to strengthen the public’s trust in law enforcement has turned to Wisconsin’s
largest law enforcement group for its insights. The only state organization to have
been invited to provide testimony thus far to The President’s Task Force on 21st
Century Policing, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) used its
opportunity to highlight a new state law mandating independent investigations of
officer-involved deaths, and the group’s critical role in making that law possible.
“We are honored to have been asked to contribute to this critically important public
dialogue on ways to foster strong relationships between law enforcement and the
communities they protect,” said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer. “Officers in
Wisconsin are subject to numerous layers of independent review and civilian
oversight, and our system could serve as a national model for the Task Force to
Established last December by an Executive Order in the wake of recent events in
Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, and elsewhere around the country, the Task
Force was created to conduct a public discussion on the integrity of our criminal
justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.
In addition to touting Wisconsin’s system of police review, the WPPA testimony
submitted to the Task Force this week included a number of recommendations,
including that the federal government require state and local law enforcement
agencies to report the number of officer-involved shootings that occur in their
jurisdictions each year. Doing so, wrote Palmer, “would help educate the public and
the media on law enforcement use of force issues.”
“Taking steps to improve the public credibility of law enforcement is vital, and it can
serve to protect and benefit our citizens, as well as the dedicated men and women
who risk their personal safety to protect them,” said Palmer. “Wisconsin has always
enjoyed a strong system of police oversight, and we’ve continued to enhance those
levels of review. Given our leadership role in making those improvements here in
Wisconsin possible, we believe that we have a lot to offer to this discussion, and we
are grateful that our efforts have been recognized.”
President Obama has ordered the Task Force to prepare a report and set of
recommendations. An initial report will be due to the President in March.
WPPA is Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group with nearly 10,000 members from
almost 300 local association affiliates.