Months after United Way of Dane County issued a call to action for law enforcement agencies to review their use of force procedures, 17 law enforcement agencies from around the county have reported some form of implementation of the recommended policies.
In February, United Way released a report of special community/police task force recommendations aimed at reducing use of force.
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The report suggested law enforcement create a system of data tracking and analysis and develop strategic partnerships to strengthen recruitment efforts.
For the Madison Police Department, Capt. of Community Outreach Kristen Roman said a number of United Way’s proposals were already in place. Only some of the suggestions had to be modified or have been modified or adjusted.
While the recent initiation of the use-of-force coordinator at MPD will be involved in tracking use of force incidents, Roman said the department had been working on implementing the position prior to the release of United Way’s report.
MPD will use federal grant money from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to fund the position of the MPD use of force coordinator. Sgt. Kimba Tieu was promoted to the fill the position last month.
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“The position is an extension of our community outreach and education team,” Roman said. “The primary responsibility includes making internal reviews and providing quality control compliance to make sure any use-of-force instances are within policies and training.”
Along with continuing the internal review process, Roman said the use of force coordinator will be responsible for compiling data and posting it to their website quarterly. With a new software program that tracks the use of force incidents, Roman said they hope it will provide more robust data for the public to access.
Another aspect of the position, Roman said, is community outreach.
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“We want to be able to start a conversation with and engage the community in discussion,” Roman said. “We’re all about hearing what the various questions and concerns are from the community about use of force.”
In addition to tracking data and addressing the community about any questions, Roman said starting this fall, all officers will participate in an eight-hour in-service training dedicated to deescalation. While it is not a primary focus of his position, Tieu will assist the training team on defense and arrest tactics, Roman said.
Training days will span from October to November.
While MPD focuses on tracking and reducing use of force incidents, the University of Wisconsin Police Department is honing in on another suggestion put forth by United Way.
Former UWPD Police Chief Sue Riseling was the co-chair of the task force responsible for creating the United Way report.
In an effort to attract and retain a diverse group of candidates, UWPD spokesperson Marc Lovicott said the department is currently working on strengthening their recruitment strategies.
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To begin the process, Lovicott said UWPD has assembled a strategic recruitment team. While the group is still in its infancy, he said they are looking at a number of different ways to to attract a diverse pool of applicants for various positions within the department.
“Were looking at a number of different things, not just from a marketing perspective, but as the whole process in which we have people apply and get them on board,” Lovicott said.
Lovicott said UWPD has been working on many of the other recommendations in the report, such as fair and impartial policing and ethics training.