Gov. Tony Evers introduced a package a police reform bills in June, and has basically been silent about them since.
He declined to call a special session of the Legislature because he was afraid Republican legislators, who hold majorities in both the Assembly and Senate, would immediately adjourn. The Legislature is scheduled to convene again in January.
Below are the Legislative Reference Bureau's summaries of the bills.
Bill 1: This bill requires each law enforcement agency to ensure that its publicly available policy on the use of force incorporates the following principles:
Bill 2: This bill requires each law enforcement officer to annually complete at least eight hours of training on use-of-force options and techniques a law enforcement officer may use to de-escalate a potentially unstable situation.
Bill 3: This bill creates a $1,000,000 grant program, administered by the Department of Justice, to fund community organizations that are utilizing evidence-based outreach and violence interruption strategies to mediate conflicts, prevent retaliation and other potentially violent situations, and connect individuals to community supports.
Bill 4: Current law requires law enforcement agencies to develop policies on the use of force by law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties. This bill requires these policies to prohibit the use of choke holds by law enforcement officers.
Bill 5: Current law requires each law enforcement agency to prepare a policy regarding the use of force by its law enforcement officers and to make the policy available for public scrutiny. This bill requires the law enforcement agency to post its policy on the law enforcement agency website or, if the agency does not have one, on a site maintained by the municipality over which the law enforcement agency has jurisdiction.
Bill 6: This bill creates a civil cause of action for unnecessarily summoning a law enforcement officer. Under the bill, a cause of action may be brought against a person who, with the intent to do any of the following, causes a law enforcement officer to arrive at a location to contact the person: 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. Under the bill, a plaintiff may recover the greater of special and general damages, including damages for emotional distress, or an amount equal to $250 from each defendant found liable; punitive damages; and costs, including all reasonable attorney fees and other costs of the investigation and litigation that were reasonably incurred.
Bill 7: Current law requires the Department of Justice to collect certain information concerning criminal offenses committed in Wisconsin. This bill requires DOJ to collect data and publish an annual report on law enforcement use of force incidents, including incidents where there was a shooting, where a firearm was discharged in the direction of a person (even if there was no injury), and where other serious bodily harm resulted from the incident. The bill requires certain demographic information to be collected about each such incident, and reported annually by DOJ on its Internet site.
Bill 8: Under current law, a law enforcement officer executing a search warrant must knock and announce before entering unless, at the time the warrant is executed, the law enforcement officer has a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing will be dangerous or futile or will inhibit the effective investigation of the crime. This bill requires that a law enforcement officer executing a search warrant must, before entering the premises, identify himself or herself as a law enforcement officer and announce the authority and purpose of the entry.
Bill 9: This bill makes certain changes to the responsibilities of the Law Enforcement Standards Board. Under current law, the Law Enforcement Standards Board regulates the training of law enforcement officers. This bill requires the Law Enforcement Standards Board to also regulate jail and juvenile detention officer training standards, and to regulate recruitment standards for the recruiting of new law enforcement, jail, and juvenile detention officers. The bill also requires each law enforcement agency to maintain an employment file for each employee. Under the bill, when a law enforcement agency, jail, or juvenile detention facility is recruiting for new officers, the agency, jail, or facility must require each candidate that is or has been employed by a different agency, jail, or facility to authorize that employer to disclose his or her employment files to the recruiting agency, jail, or facility and to release that employer from any liability related to the use and disclosure of the files.
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