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Wisconsin democrats introduce package of police and justice reform bills

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bowen police bills

MADISON (WKOW) -- Democrats introduced a series of new bills Thursday targeting police and justice reform.

Rep. David Bowen's (D-Milwaukee) "Enough is Enough" package consists of twelve bills. They focus on reshaping law enforcement training and policies as well as enhancing accountability and transparency.

Measures included in the "Enough is Enough" package:

  1. Require a first aid curriculum for departments and 24 hours of first aid training for law enforcement officers
  2. Prohibit collective bargaining units from bargaining for the reversal of a police chief's decision to fire an officer
  3. Require law enforcement agencies to provide officers with an information card including name, badge number, and their supervisor's telephone number
  4. Require a 2/3 majority vote by the Fire and Police Commission to overrule a disciplinary decision, instead of a simple majority
  5. Prevent investigators employed at an agency within the last ten years from investigating an officer-involved death within that agency
  6. Require the district attorney report officer-involved deaths to a special prosecutor appointed by a court
  7. Create a grant program for law enforcement agencies to incorporate a pre-arrest risk assessment tool into arrest practices
  8. Update use-of-force policy language and prohibit disciplining any officer who reports a violation
  9. Require the Department of Justice to release an annual report on use-of-force incidents
  10. Require officers to complete 8 hours of training a year on use-of-force and de-escalation options
  11. Require the Department of Health Services to create a grant program for cities and counties for conducting violence prevention programs
  12. Prohibit dehumanizing "warrior-style" training for law enforcement officers

Bowen said bills that have passed so far in the Senate and have had public hearings in the Assembly are "underwhelming" and fail to do enough to hold officers accountable when they do wrong.

Bowen was joined by Rep. Francesca Hong (D-Madison) as well as activists from the People's Revolution in Milwaukee.

Activist Rebecca Burrell served on the Speaker's Task Force co-chaired by Rep. Sheila Stubbs (D-Madison) and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), attended the press event for Bowen's bills.

Burrell, who objected to several of the recommendations the task force eventually made, said Thursday the bills either introduced or passed so far was insignificant.

"I will not settle for scraps," Burrell said.

Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) said she voted for four of the five bills that cleared the Senate because they were measures that made improvements while having the necessary bipartisan support to pass a legislature controlled by Republicans in both chambers.

"Getting anything through that Republican majority as a Democrat, you are going to have to make some huge sacrifices," Johnson said. "Are those the bills that would be passed if Democrats or individuals of color had their way? I think we can honestly say no they are not."