(WFRV) – Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson joined WFRV Local 5 This Morning for a Community Update. He discussed the internal investigation of one of his officers, the effects of coronavirus on the department, and more.
The department recently concluded its investigation into Officer Bryce La Luzerne, who allegedly made racist and homophobic posts on social media. Can you tell us about the outcome?
According to a statement provided to the Police and Fire Commission, the internal investigation resulted ‘no grounds to file charges’ against Officer La Luzerne.
Chief Peterson says that when the department received an anonymous report about the posts, they became concerned that the posts may “reflect his values today” and impact the way he does his job. Through the investigation, Chief Peterson says the department reviewed La Luzerne’s social media activity, internet browsing history, the demographics of his arrest contacts, his use of force incidents, and all personnel complaints filed against him. Body camera video of every criminal arrest of a Black suspect by La Luzerne with body camera video from 22 randomly selected arrests of white suspects.
The chief says that nothing came forward during the investigation to suggest the social media posts made when La Luzerne was in high school have any affect on his job performance with the Grand Chute Police Department.
Your department is accredited by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation group – why is that so important?
The Grand Chute Police Department has been accredited for about six years. Chief Peterson says that because GCPD is accredited, there are a number of policies they must abide by.
Among those standards, the department is required to:
- File a written report whenever an employee uses force, and each use of force has to undergo a review process;
- Provide necessary medical care after each use of force;
- Investigate all complaints of misconduct against agency employees, even those filed anonymously;
- Have a structured disciplinary system;
- Have a policy that expressly prohibits bias-based policing and narrowly defines when personal characteristics can be used during an investigation; and
- Fully review of all of our department policies every two years.
Grand Chute is experiencing an increase in drug overdoses and deaths, can you tell us about that?
Grand Chute has reported two overdose deaths during the first six months of 2020 compared to zere in 2019. The number of overdoses has gone from four in 2019 to 19 in 2020.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen an uptick in our overdoses,” Chief Peterson says. He adds that he’s confident that the number of overdose deaths would be higher if it weren’t for officers carrying Narcan, which can be administered to a patient to reverse overdoses.
Chief Peterson also spoke about some events being canceled and Fox Valley mask ordinances.
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