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Appleton’s Police Chief responds to school district truancy numbers

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas appeared on Local 5 This Morning for his Community Update and discussed the department’s recent arrest of Deandre Rembert. He’s accused of resisting and attempting to flee officers.

“Those officers at one point were fighting for their life,” Thomas said. “[I was] watching the body cam video – extremely professional, well-trained – [I’m] very proud with how they responded.”

Thomas mentioned how the preliminary numbers for 2019 are in regarding the department’s use of force while making arrests. To check out 2018’s analysis, click here. The following are the statistics Chief Thomas provided to Local 5 from last year.

  •  69 incidents where force was used. The majority of those were people taken into custody who resisted arrest, attempted to flee, or attacked the officer.
  • The number of incidents are consistant with 2018, but a little more than the five year average.
  • Thomas says that over 99.9% of service calls are resolved only using verbal dialogue.
  • When a physical arrest is made, force is used about 2% of the time.

Thomas went on to talk about the recent report from the Appleton Area School District that 27% of high schoolers were “habitually truant” last semester – meaning they had at least five unexcused absences.

“That was shocking when I saw that number,” Thomas said. “I appreciate the school district putting that out and being as open and transparent as they are about that, but they really are counting things that they haven’t counted in the past. Like a student who is tardy and shows up two minutes late to class, that’s being marked as an absence, which is different than how they tracked it before.

“The school district and the city council made a decision last year to have the police department step back from being involved with truancy as much as we were in the past. Every week a child is out of school, they become more disconnected. It doesn’t matter how many great programs the school district has, if the child isn’t in school, they can’t be a part of those programs.”

Chief Thomas appears on Local 5 This Morning every other week for an update on the latest out of the City of Appleton.

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