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State Police Association asking for lawmaker action on reform bills

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WAUSAU, Wisc. (WAOW)-- The largest police group in Wisconsin has been working with state officials to create laws aimed at police reform.

Calling it the Blueprint for Change, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) has banded together to question how to better wear the badge.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Public access to use use of force policies
  • Whistleblower protections
  • Statewide collection of data on use of force

After the death of George Floyd the WPPA said they wanted to be apart the national policing discussions going on across the country.

"We really wanted to signify and reaffirm our commitment to having a voice in this important public dialogue." said Jim Palmer Executive Director of the WPPA, "and the way we do that is by putting our own ideas forward and not just reacting to the public dialogue but to drive it in a constructive and meaningful way."

Starting back in September of 2020 the group worked with the racial disparities tasks force, sitting at the table with communities of color, different religious groups, and political members to understand how to put the police best foot forward.

Of the 19 total bill the Blueprint for Change packaged two were denied, eight have become laws, and nine are currently awaiting senate approval to go to the Governors desk.

"To date its the most comprehensive and cumulative package of police reform measure of by any police group in the country." said Palmer

Senator Patrick Testin co-authored on of the bills included in this package Senate Bill 165 (SB 165).

"The law enforcement standards bill provides more transparency in the hiring process for men and women of law enforcement so we can weed out the bad actors and ensure they are no longer in the profession." said Testin.

Testin said that in cases of officers leaving or changing stations, their incident reports were hidden behind a non-disclosure agreement.

If SB 165 were to become a law, employers would be required to transfer employment files to new law enforcement agency employers.

This file would include performance reviews, internal affairs investigation files, disciplinary actions, and more.

Officials say laws like the ones in the blue print for change package will provide police officers what the tools they need to succeed.

Testin continued, saying: "While some states and some large municipalities have had conversations about wanting to defund the police we have taken a much different approach."

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