NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) Police departments across the nation and right here in Wisconsin are improving their policing efforts in the wake of unrest following George Floyd’s death.
But President Donald Trump’s reform won’t mean big changes for police departments in the Fox Valley.
Police departments will now have to track police officers with multiple incidences of misconduct, now that President Trump has ordered the creation of a database for problematic officers.
Local police departments welcome the reform because they say they already monitor when an officer does something wrong.
Neenah Police Chief Aaron Olson says, “We already track everything here at the Neenah Police Department through a program called IA Pro, so it would be very easy for us to obey with the order and give the government any information that they need.”
Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas says, “It really is not a change for the city of Appleton, we’ve been tracking our use of force for twenty years.”
Neenah and Appleton Police Departments monitor specific misconduct allegations.
Chief Thomas says, “We track the type of force used. The officer that’s using it. We review it with three or four different people and groups.”
To maintain the trust of their citizens, police departments in the Fox Vally say transparency through community policing is necessary.
Chief Olson says, “The officers know the citizens, the citizens know the officers. It’s something that’s gonna take time to do. It’s not going to happen overnight but it’s one of our initiatives to make sure that we’re out in the community more.”
Chief Thomas says, “We’re starting a community advisory panel for the Chief, which is gonna be a group of fifteen to twenty people that will be advising myself and some of my staff members on what they want their police department to do. We have a proud tradition in Wisconsin of tracking our use of forces. So I think we’re way ahead of the curve on this.”
Neenah Police Chief Olson will meet with residents Wednesday to discuss their concerns about his police department and Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas talks with citizens on Tuesdays about different police training topics.