Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson on the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities | WisCommunity

Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson on the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities

June 2, 2021 - 9:11pm

Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson on the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities.

On 5/25/2021 the Menomonie Cares group spoke to Police Chief Atkinson about the report from the Speaker's Task Force on Racial Disparities.

Quick Machine Transcript Follows;

Vicki Sanchez 0:09
Yeah, thanks, Warren. Yes, um, you know, Thank you, Eric, for, you know, you're speaking a little bit later about to propose police reform. But I know when you know, in the conversations that we've had with her nominee cares with bringing chief Atkinson in, just looking at all of the different policies that are going on, you know, through for the city, you know, trying to look at what can we do better as a community and vice versa, the police department what they can do better? And so even just looking at some of the, I guess, some people might think, you know, a website is something small and not a big thing, but having transparency, showing some equity and diversity and inclusion and the site. You know, how do you report a complaint? You know, those are some things that I'm, you know, that had kind of stemmed from those conversations. So, you know, I know, you know, Chief Atkinson was like, reaching out, because I had made some statements and comments about, like, how can we be better even just the transparency for the police department. And so, we met virtually, and really kind of discussed some of those items. And so I know, even just today, I'm like, you know, I hadn't looked in a while to see like, coming soon, you know, all these different where those pages were before. And so we're hoping to, you know, see some changes in that respect of like, you know, from what the community's getting for information, to how to what is the complaint? What does that mean? You know, Eric, I know, you know, I took a lot of precocious notes, I'm sure, because I there's a lot to share. But we're hoping that maybe, you know, from that conversation, it stemmed to better transparency. And so, I'm looking forward to see some of those changes. And, you know, you're gonna be talking about reform, but it's like, even how do we reform the image of the police department? You know, there's a theory about image restoration, like, how do you how do you do that? when, you know, you know, George Floyd's murder really has made everybody more aware of like, what is our police departments doing? So it just be great to kind of hear both what the reform for the state is to them to see what is it going to be like here in Menominee? So

Chief Atkinson 3:04
yeah, you Well, I wanted to thank you for that conversation. So we're moving a little bit at the speed of government here with what the website development, but what that really means is that are being very deliberate with some of those changes, like some of the things that came up, were about accessibility for a complaint. So what information is happening? And what kind of programs are taking place? What is the police department doing for the community? How are we interacting, so if you go to that website, and I'll say coming soon, so we've taken that down and have been completely well, deconstructing it, so to speak, and then rebuilding them, myself, and Brenda Jasper, who even most of you probably know who she is, or I've met her through some some type of meeting. We're working to add those pieces in there. So one, it's easier to see when you get on the landing page. And I think that was an issue right up front, because you only had a couple selections. And when you went into the selections, you had to kind of know where to navigate or maybe understand some probably some policing vernacular is still how we would call it and then it just made it difficult to navigate. And, and when, when you folks first invited me and start talking about and then the subsequent conversation with Dickie, he became very aware of it. And I could see that would be a challenge. So I'm hoping when we get this thing put back out, we can bring it back, have the group take a look at it, if you're if you're interested in willing to and see if it's easier to navigate. And part of that is to kind of the reemerging rebranding to show what it is that we do here that separates us from others and how we're serving you and I think the product will be better but of course, everything requires feedback or I'm going to ask for it anyway. And I hope you're willing to share that in the future. If that's okay.

Marion Lang 5:03
Thank you, Vicki. Thank you, Eric. Both of you. It's really wonderful. Thank you so much. This is this is no small thing. no small matter. Thank you.

Chief Atkinson 5:13
Right. So if you want to dive in, I can I can kind of give, we got some time yet for the state, speakers Task Force. So I think most he received a copy of it or had access to it. I sent one out. Overall, I think the recommendations are, are really good. I think that they do provide some, some good guidance for law enforcement and for departments. I have some apprehension, though, that, in this sense that they are good, they're good suggestions. But I worry that people will think that it'll be all changing kind of thing that, that our expectations might be too high. And part of the part of the reason why I say that before I kind of go into some of the individual ones is that a lot of this stuff is centered around and what you can can't do, you know, the shells and shell knots, which is okay, you need to have those things. When you I believe when you're talking about like equality, equity, disparate outcomes, those sorts of things. It's a much bigger picture. And that requires some significant changes. It's difficult to do that in the United States, because we're a republic, and you have 50 different states with 50 different sets of laws. And each community is not equal in the sense of funding or expectations, too, which presents some significant challenges. But I'll jump into the speaker's Task Force. And then, and then I have the world according to Eric reform, which I'll go through, if I could make changes on my own, I would, what I would do or recommend, Well, anyway, just kind of touch it in there. They talk about use of force by law enforcement and duty to report and intervene. Absolutely a great one watching the George Boyd there was plenty of opportunity for those other officers to step in and stop it, and they didn't do it. And so not only do I think that that's a good requirement to have in law, and I think you could apply certainly our misconduct in office to it because most policies in departments will have some kind of duty to intervene or prevention of excessive force, but haven't specifically laid out nothing wrong with it. Where where I was, I'm hoping the task force will go into they didn't really talk about that is that that needs to be reinforced with police training. And when I What do I mean by that is, literally when we are practicing or police training or being taught it. You have to set up scenarios where there is excessive force, or it's taking place and you're teaching people how to intervene and tap on that it's okay to stop it to make sure it doesn't happen. So it needs to be something practicing reinforced, not just put into black and white wall, but it has to become part of what you learn and what you do. The old saying is what is it monkey see monkey? Do we learn from each other? And if we're not practicing it, we just might not do it, then we're trying to prevent things like what happened to George boy whistleblower protections. We we already have similar ones like that on the books, but enhancing that. Nothing wrong with that it should be there. And no officer should be retaliated for. But has there been officers that that have had retaliation against them? Oh, yeah, for sure. And to have something like that in place, I think it's just as this kind of a reinforcement that you can speak up, you can say something to intervene or something is happening. Or if you've learned of something that shouldn't have happened, you can say something or protective. One of the one of the nice pieces of all Wisconsin, which some states don't have is we have a police and fire commission. And there are certain scale for lack of better term police officer Bill of Rights, which does protect us from retaliatory action. So if let's say I was a bad Chief, and someone had reported something, and I didn't like it, because maybe it made me look bad or something's happening. And I tried to discipline or terminate the person, it'll come back on me and the police fire commission, or I don't have the power to just terminate somebody or just to suspend somebody. There's a civilian review board that gets gets to have that say. So those are those protections. And then there's also I can be sued too, so there's always that and if you've ever been sued, it's not fun. Just gonna let you in on that.

So chokeholds on off Officers, to me, I find it very unusual that there are still departments that teach what would be considered a chokehold or a carotid control hold. So to get rid of those, I think is just fine. If there's a case where your life is in danger, and so like the last resort, it's like a true deadly force, then I think it's okay. But to be teaching that, and we do not in Wisconsin, so you don't see why you don't see those kind of choke outs, or sleeper holds taking place around here, which I'm very thankful for public access to use of force policies, to me, that's a no brainer, I think, if you want access to any policy, the public should have it. And they do, really from our chapter 19, is our open records law in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin has probably one of the most liberal open records laws available, it's considered a Sunshine State, which means that for me to not release a record to you, I need to have a very, very good reason. And then you also have recourse or redress where you can basically file what's called a mandamus. To get it, and I have to have a hearing, that proves why I can't do it to you. And if you prove that I should have gave it to you. And not only do I gotta give it to you, but then I got to pay your attorney fees, too. So there, there are a lot of lot of things in there to try to protect the public. Statewide standard us support, we already have that, which which is fine to do that I think they're what they're more getting at is some of the maybe the definitions and and how that works. So we have a law enforcement Standards Board, which is statutorily empowered, and they help create that, that standardized training for use of force. The problem that occurs is that once you get out of the Academy, or if you're in a local one, like let's say you're in a large enough department that has its own, then you may not receive a lot of training after that, yes, you have to have 24 hours of in service training a year to maintain your license. But that doesn't mean you're receiving that use of force training. So that's, that's a challenge. transparency, oversight, independence, use of advisory or use of force review advisory boards. It depends upon what powers the boards have, I would say I don't I don't think there's any issues of having outside people taking a look at use of force. You have the police and fire commission that's already statutorily empowered. And if, if people want to have like, let's say a third party reviewer looking at officer involved critical incidents like either a death, serious accident, accident or injury, I think that's a wise idea. The FAA does those things when they have crashes and dissect it. And our state did put in for having for officer involved deaths, serious injuries, I think would be certainly something to put into as well. So I I don't see any issues with having advisory boards or seeing what that looks like. Again, it just depends on the rules and make sure it doesn't conflict with police and fire commission statutes. Let's see here. One more thing about the advisory boards, you'll see a lot of this nationally where people are talking about creating these advisory boards or, or reviewing, let's say disciplinary action. So if we use support is done, and then a chief goes to suspend or terminate. And then you're finding that the board is actually overturning it or returning the person back to work, either an arbitration through like a union grievance, or through one of these advisory boards. What one of the problems with the advisory boards are is that they tend to overturn the punishments of the police departments. So like the administration's and part of that is the same reason why I think you'll see a juries where they don't always, always want to convict people for serious offenses. And part of that is because it's a person in your in your voting to either take away their job or send them to prison or whatnot. And you have some of that human factor on it. So those are some challenges that that take place in that and where some chiefs who are not Wisconsin, who have some of those like arbitration type boards, have issues with that.

And then body cameras. I think when people saw the body cameras coming out that that would they thought that was going to be a real game changer. It was in some regards because it ended up helping overturn a lot a lot of false type complaints. I don't think it's necessarily going to stop something like the George Floyd that as you saw, even though the main video was from a cell phone camera, the other officers had body And that's not necessarily going to stop it. I think body cameras are great to have the great tools and evidence. I think they did help convict Derek Chava. And I think the other officers will help their convictions too, as well. So they'll end up going to prison. And that's going to go into more and more of what if the world was, according to Eric, where I think reform would help but body cameras are help and strong supporter of them. Yes. misurina?

Unknown Speaker 15:26
Quick question, because I seem to keep on reading articles where they'll say, you know, that the the officers, camera wasn't activated.

Unknown Speaker 15:35
So there's no body camera footage for X, Y or Z situation?

Unknown Speaker 15:40
How often does that happen? Is that just what am I just perceiving this? Because related to media coverage? Or are there issues with

Unknown Speaker 15:52

Chief Atkinson 15:53
the activation of body cameras? Well, I'm gonna I'm gonna ride the fence. I'm gonna I'm gonna sound a bit like a politician here. It's, I think it's both real and perceived. So, of course, anytime we read about stuff or articles, I mean, we'll see it changes our thoughts for good or for the better. problem that has happened in some departments, it depends on the policy that a department may have about when you're going to have the camera on when you can't have the camera on? How is the camera activated? At what situation? Should you have it activated? Now a lot, a lot of people on it, and I would want myself into this group is that if you're going to be involved in any potential in for as a patrol officer as an enforcement action, an investigation, like, you'd call it a field interview, or our reasonable suspicion stop, if you're doing those kinds of activities that cameras should be on, if you're going to call for service, like I'm going to domestic violence complaint, theft complaint, you know, whatever that should be on, when it shouldn't be on is if you're not doing like police activity. So if you're in the bathroom, maybe you're on general patrol, if you're at the donut shop, eat the app and, and I like my coffee. And I like my doughnuts too. As you guys know, I got the physique that shows it. So yeah, for those things, you don't need to have it on 24 hours a day. But when you are engaging in the work, yeah, have it on. And, and so for context wise, 23 years ago, when I became a police officer, and squad cameras were becoming kind of thing. There's a lot of suspicions, I've always Big Brother watching me, but then people got used to it. They liked it. It worked out now, for a lot of departments that don't have the cameras, because there's a significant expense to it. The officers want the cameras, because more often than not our squad cameras and body cameras, have helped overturn complaints helped us in court. And so and it shows that you're doing what you're supposed to do. And frankly, if you're an ethical police officer, and you're caring for the community, you should have no problem with it. You really shouldn't. And if he NF, er, he kind of makes me wonder what, why? Well, what are you doing that you don't want people to see? I mean, really, when you think about it, so right? Or in the case of Chevron and company, how did they not think that those were going to be problematic things to have on record? See, now we're getting to the real reasons for reform. And and where it is. Because when certain things are taking place, you're not thinking about a camera, you're not thinking about some of this other stuff. And that's where I'm going to get at because like this stuff with the body cams and what the state is talking about here, that kind of these Band Aid pieces. I don't think it's going to get to the real issue at heart. I really don't. And I think in America, we kind of look for fast solutions. We're kind of instant gratification. We're a fast food nation. We want our, you know, internet to be moving like this. We want things to happen. That's why I say don't get your expectations up, because I don't think we're really addressing the real problem. parts of it. puzzle pieces. But we should look at the whole puzzle. So to move on to speed up the to get the good stuff, no knock search warrants. I think at times that judges have been too loose on approving some of them, and the use no knock search warrants. I've been part of them before, but they were rare. It seems like it's becoming more common. So tracking the no knock search warrants, making sure that there is a true viability forum. I think you need to have that. And yes, no,

Marion Lang 19:57
yes. Thanks, Eric. But just to say that I think I think you didn't speak to the statewide collection of data on use of force.

Chief Atkinson 20:05
Or Yes, I would say that it would be appropriate to do a statewide collection on your support. Thank you for for redirecting. That's a good thing to do. I think you have to identify what levels of use of force you want to take this because taking someone in handcuffs is the type of use of force do we want to? Do we want to track every time we put bracelets on somebody? Or do we want to start tracking? Are we only going to be tracking when we put someone in like a, it's called a come along technique, I would grab hold of someone's arm who is not wanting to go? Is that where we're going to start the tracking? You're gonna want to have a universal setup for that. And I there were some concerns, I think about cost of that. I don't think it's that big of a deal. And I think it should be reported, so communities know what kind of force is being used. Plus, it also, it's like, if you have, let's say, 50 officers in a department, and he had maybe 100 use of force incidents that were above have come along technique, let's say that. And officer Joe had 75 of the 100 that should start telling you something. Either this person doesn't know how to talk to people, or are the reason just excessively jumping to it or a combination of the both. It's a competency issue, it might even be a mental issue up here, too. So that's why I think tracking use of force is important. Plus, it's also important to know how often it really does happen is that because I think people right now are thinking, Oh, this is this is just happening all the time. In in reality, it's it's not. But it doesn't matter, because that's what people are seeing. And they are going to with cameras and other stuff like that, and it gets replayed. So it is good to track and it gives us a better perspective. Employment files a law enforcement officers, this is part of the the Eric large reform piece, good background checks, access to these personnel files to make sure they're not scrubbed clean, like leaving in lieu of termination, or those sorts of things being truth in truth and disclosure. And also making sure those who are doing these background checks know how to do them. And, and not and the problem is, is we have 480 some departments here in Wisconsin have local law enforcement 72 sheriff's offices. Not all of them have the same resources as others, to do quality background checks, to do screening, things like psychological examinations. I mean, psychological examinations were recommended for law enforcement back in the 1930s. And we still have many states, including this one that don't mandate them. So that's a challenge right there. And, and we shouldn't be doing psychological exam in my department does, um, I'm glad our city supports the finances for that they've never had an issue with it, but that needs to be done. Drug Testing, you need, we have to have drug testing for a person that's hired. And I think we should have them to during critical incidents. And most most agencies or most departments are encouraging, hey, you know, you need to get it or either mandating it. Or officers, if they don't mandate it wanted done to try to prove that they're okay. That they're not drunk. They're not on drugs. They're not on one of the seven major panels like amphetamines and THC. But it doesn't test if you're on antidepressants, that used to be a concern of folks that if they are, well, they get depressed, they get PTSD and things like that. And they seek therapy and treatment, that that would show up. And that doesn't, but they need to have drug testing. Another great recommendation, psychological examinations, by the way, going back to psych tests and these other things. Why see one of the hurdles to this is that it's the money issue going to be again, because we're talking psychological examinations are anywhere from $350 to $1,000. And depending on the Department for the size, the turnover, that has an impact. The other part is to is the psychologist really aware of what are the rigors of law enforcement? And when I say by that is like the constant negativity, the trauma, is this person going to be susceptible to what I would add to steal something from Star Wars go to the dark side. They're gonna all of a sudden become bitter, cynical, negative, dehumanizing others, which by the way, is what I would say the Derrick chavon case what you saw in the eyes. He wasn't looking at him as a person. He was looking at him as An object.

And then that kind of goes into the big scheme. He almost looked dissociated to me. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I'd be willing to bet. And I don't know him or his history. There is no way he is the same person when he was hired as he is now. I mean, he would still have some basic psych tenants. But I am sure he has mentality and drastically changed over the years in his approach to people and things, I'd be willing to bet that I could be wrong. And I've been wrong before. And I'll be wrong again. But I would think that over time, things happen. school resource officers having that kind of training, all that's an absolute must. A school police officer has more police authority than I do. And how, what do I mean by that, in order for me to search somebody, I have to have probable cause. A school resource officer has to have what's called reasonable suspicion, a much lower burden of proof. And to kind of give you a definition of probable cause would be like, you probably have something on you that you don't, you're not supposed to have and, and boom, boom, boom, boom, here are all the reasons why. reasonable suspicion could be Well, you've entered a school, we had a tip from a person that said that they are bringing in drugs or a gun, or something along those lines, and this person has had problems before, that would be more of a reasonable suspicion where I can stop and detain someone temporarily, and be able to then, but I can, but they can do a search with with the school because the school has the authority to search all property that's in there. If I come onto the school grounds, I don't have that authority. But if I'm a school resource officer who spends my time there, as a part school official, they have that authority, and understand what those differences are, and also how to not abuse those differences, because that can be abused. And then to also understand the psychology of children and adolescence, how it impacts delinquency. Because your brain really doesn't stop developing until about 2425 years old, understanding circumstances and repercussions of actions. I'm not saying you can't hold kids accountable. I'm just saying there needs to be a factor in enforcement decisions. crisis intervention training, we've got our officers training, it has made a world of difference. It's a spendy training program. It's not unusual for it to run $1,000 a person that is very cost prohibitive. So I would urge anybody to get it. But at the state is going to mandate it, or let's say that the country is going to try to make a federally mandated, they're gonna need to find funding for it. And it's gonna be costly. But it works. It really does. It's good stuff. decertification of bad law enforcement officers. Thank you. I yes, please, during community engagement grant programs. Yeah, I read that. Yeah, we need to have those. I would say though, the problem with grants, at least in my experience, a lot of them are focused into very major cities. And I get it, they have, they have a lot of issues and unique things. local communities need that too, for for paying for training and specialized services. And I received a email here just recently that there is a deficit in the state training, that is aid that comes to local departments, is in jeopardy. So we're talking about national reform or state police reform, and already you're talking about cuts to training. How are we going to reform people if we can't train them on what the reforms are? How are we going to get over form if you can't, if you can't do this, it's like the Pink Floyd song. How you didn't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat. How you know, it's just Anyway, I'm a Pink Floyd fan. So I'm just put that out there. Crisis Response Teams. Another great one, we're working on developing several collaborative response teams here in Dunn County, and we have some hybrids right now. But again, it comes down to resources. It's not always popular spend a lot of money on like human services and social services type projects. And that's where a lot of this funding needs to go to. You've seen lots of cuts in education and social services over the years.

You He, we need to restore that. Because that's that's the kind of help police need because when they cut that funding, who are they know sending for those types of things, the cops are not always the best, best option for that. And I think everybody would agree to that last thing unnecessarily summoning an officer. Yeah, it's okay. But I think that NEEDS CLARIFICATION on here. We don't see a whole lot of that kind of false complaints. I get what they're getting at, though about people calling in saying, well, there's a suspicious person just because they're black, or a person of color. And and we already have that as obstruction, I think you just need to have the district attorney's and the officers feel empowered to enforce that. So whether or not you change the statute, avid specifically written for that, that's one thing, or we can utilize statutes that are already in place. And then lastly, qualified immunity to be quick on that, because that's a complicated subject. It isn't it is not a law. It is a judicial doctrine that was created first in the 60s, but then re enhanced around 1982. There are good and bad parts about the qualified immunity and hear yours what it was put in, when it should be to protect people from frivolous lawsuits when they're doing their duty. That is what it should be. And where it has gone wrong, is that and this is a federal thing, by the way, the state states have indemnity, which is kind of similar. But on the federal qualified immunity. This is where lawyers and judges have kind of placed it. There's a part in that qualified immunity that says that how in order for you to not have qualified immunity, it has to be in violation of a clearly established practice like this has happened. And we know this is bad. Well, in 1982, did they have tasers? No. In 1982, did they have three quarters of the tools and things that we have right now? No, no, they didn't. But unless it's clearly defined in there taking clearly established mean as that so narrowly and focus. Well, this didn't happen this way, because there is no case law about that taser. Well, wait a minute. If the incident says I mean, you look at this and go this is clearly excessive force. Just because there hasn't there wasn't that thing to even exist back then. It's been twisted. And so what what I would encourage, and I'm sure there'll probably be some sort of change on the federal level, I don't think you're gonna avoid it. But what I would, I would encourage the courts and this is where the judges come in, is that saying look clearly established to me should mean that's a clear Fourth Amendment violation, that would be an unlawful seizure of a person, because this is really what a lot of this stuff centers around. deadly force is a seizure of a person. handcuffing is a seizure of a person. So if it's doing something like Like, if I just shot somebody, and I had no reason that's a fourth amendment violation. So not have to prove that that is all the same circumstances happened here as it did back then. And that's why people are aggravated about qualified immunity. And they and they have some just cause for that. Because to me, at least in my opinion, I believe qualified immunity is a good thing. I think it's been applied unfairly, though. Because if I do some of these things that some of these other folks have done, I would expect to be, I would expect to be sued. And that's what this is, is civil forfeiture has nothing to do with being charged criminally. That does not protect you from criminal charges. So that I would ask judges to change and you know what, it'll probably get changed through legislation at some point. So if you're acting outside the color of law, which is really what it should be, yeah, you're gonna you expect to get sued, you probably should get prosecuted do so anyway. Now we're at 24. After I'm gonna give you the one minute elevator speech of why of what the real reforms should be. It has to it has to do with who you're recruiting. It has to do with how you're hiring. What kind of people you're looking for. doing those psychological is doing the background checks, changing the way policing training is occurring, not just at the front end, but throughout their entire careers, about putting the value of life as number one.

That has to be first and foremost. You are community caretaker and keeper. You are there to provide aid you need to look at adjusting the way you solve crime and working with people on much more of a public health type standard. Looking at do do no harm Looking at the root causes of problems, not dehumanizing others not creating this us versus them, there are going to be times where you're going to have to use for so you have to arrest somebody, I think everybody gets that. But that can't be your primary focus up front where you're paranoid thinking that everybody is out to get you. That is not the case. It is, and it's going to take that upfront part on hiring a front on training, it's going to take the leadership of not just law enforcement, but your mayor's your managers, your council members, your congressman, women, they have to buy into that. And where the obstacles are going to be, as people are very fractured. People have different expectations. And it's going to be very challenging, because we're 50 different states, and we have all these communities in them. generational turnover helps, I'm going to be very blunt on that the from Kathleen, some of that does help and some people just need to get out of the way. And I'm sure there'll be people maybe listen to this call will get mad at that statement. But it is true. When when the Ferguson incident happened. All there were there were those of us that thought this is this is going to motivate people to do some changing, and to break out and do things differently. The 20, President Obama, like them or not, I think the best thing he did, or one of the best things he did was happened, the President's Task Force on policing, I would encourage any of you to read it. Those departments that did implement those practices have fared much better. Those that put up the brakes on it because they were sold in a tradition or just didn't like them or who knows, all the way to they didn't like him because of his color. I'm sure that happens to that, that document. If you follow it, you're going to do well. And but a lot of folks didn't like it. And but now you're seeing much many more departments after those leaders have gone, some of those folks that were entrenched are gone. Many more have embraced that style. It's challenging, though. Because it takes time to change. It's getting better soda and to go with it. Yeah, some of it is generational, you need some folks to just to retire, go or vote away for leave. And that takes some leadership to because some of those, you need to help them find the door. You're getting into you're impeding progress. You're obstructing change. And so that's my my kind of one to two minute elevator speech on some of the stuff that the things speaker taskforce did. Yeah, they got they got some good suggestions. But you need a holistic change. Very much. So doing evidence based practices, problem Oriented Policing, which is really public health, addressing taking public health strategies to address crime and disorder, community Oriented Policing, which is working with a community to solve problems together, not just police dictating what's going to happen. And then that comes to a larger prospect is essentially creating a contract with your community. How do you want to be policed? What do you want from us? And I don't know, I don't feel like that takes place in a lot of places and all shareholders not necessarily at the table. I know we're getting to the end of our time, and I got a 130 appointment to swipe. I'm hoping I can wrap up this and then take a question or two, if you haven't, I'm going to share with with you folks. Senator Warner Marion. It's called Sir Robert peels, principles of law enforcement. They were published in 1829, during the London Metropolitan Police act, I would encourage you to take a look at that. Because that's really what policing should be, and they have it. It really that's that it's not in this stuff we're talking about is not a new concept. It just hasn't been put into practice for a lot of different reasons. Some of it out of greed, political power, some racist stuff.

I mean, let's face it, some of those things have impacted it. I'm going to share with the group. I would encourage you to read it if you get a chance. It's It's good stuff. Anyway, any any questions or comments, and I crammed a lot of stuff in there.

No, you're tired of me. All right,

Marion Lang 40:02
I was just waiting for somebody. I mean, yeah, thank you for a really lively and vibrant reflection on these recommendations. I mean, I think we probably all do have some questions about about how it's affecting our community. And I know that you've already shared with I mean, I'm, I need one speaking for others. As I say this, I know, that's something that perhaps in the future, we can understand. I mean, I don't know if we're going to do some advocacy or write on this. I mean, you mentioned some things about need for funding, that's always really a great thing to write about, you know, when you talk about some of the positive initiatives that are going on here that are going to fall away if the if the force doesn't have the funding. So that's one thing I heard. So maybe people can kind of gather their thoughts about how we can we can create a response to this to some of these recommendations, and then somebody that would be supportive of the many positive initiatives that that are part of the nominee, police department.

Chief Atkinson 41:04
I thank you. Course. Yeah. I'd be happy to talk about any of those at some time.

Marion Lang 41:10
Yeah. So that's one quick response for me, does every anyone else have a course or an incredible gratitude to be able to sit in on on a conversation like this? It's just really very valuable. And, and, and we value you for what you're doing for our community.

Chief Atkinson 41:29
Thank you. I value folks. That's why I do it.

Marion Lang 41:33
Yeah. And enjoy, and to hear about, you know, how Vicki, you know, was able to have this really open conversation with you. I know, when we when you first came to our meetings, you said, you know, you can tell me things that that you can make criticism, I think you said you had your big boy pants on. So that is that is how we get to move forward together is by being able to honestly express our concerns, and, and to get good feedback. So I'm just blathering on I know, you got to go. Anybody else? Vicki? Anybody? Oh, no,

Vicki Sanchez 42:10
I just I really appreciate chief Atkinson to kind of share with us that document of what's happening at the state level, but I would definitely be interested in finding out how does that parallel to what you know, you you'll be doing for the city,

Chief Atkinson 42:25
absolutely be happy to share?

Angie M. 42:27
Well, and I just wanted to say thank you, honestly, because it really does come from the top down. And it shows because I have, like, I work really closely with a lot of different officers in your department. And some of them are just so phenomenal. But I hear about it from my clients, and it makes me super happy. Um, but it really shows and also on a personal level, that I know that you advocate for your team. And to me, that's amazing, because I know that there have been people in certain situations that you have advocated for and stood your ground. And I know, that's not as easy to do. And I really appreciate that just coming from a personal level. Because when I hear things like that, that makes me really happy as you know, an advocate that I know you take care of your people. I think what

Chief Atkinson 43:19
I do I do my best if if they're the changes we have made, at least in this time, I've worked here they've been challenging. And and I feel strongly that if if they're going to that effort, and doing what trying to do what's right for people, yes, I'll, I'll stand up the world. And if people are not interested in putting the community's best interests first. They know where they stand with me as well. Because we're public servants first and foremost. And that's what we should be and, and sometimes it results in tough conversations, and we've had ad changes. And that's, that's okay. And that's required a state changes in personnel and whatnot, and that, that's fine. So I appreciate you saying that. And Gee, thank you very much for sharing that.

Angie M. 44:07
And I'm over here like trying to do

Chief Atkinson 44:11
what's it's been a tough year. I just asked for everyone.

Marion Lang 44:18
All right. Well, thank you so much. I you know, that I value this, this group and are coming together and, and maybe on maybe on you may be closing down for the summer. However, Eric, if you're available on June 8, we could really finish the conversation and have your have some additional response to this. Okay.

Chief Atkinson 44:43
I'm going to look, I'll look at my calendar real quick here so I can see. Yeah, I'll be I'll be in the office and available. So

Marion Lang 44:53
okay, great. So let's, we'll be continuing this, this initial conversation then maybe with some questions about the record. Nations themselves and when also was I think some people related to how this affects Menominee policing. Okay, great. Thank

Chief Atkinson 45:08
you, everybody. Thank you for being here. Have a good Memorial weekend. Okay.

Transcribed by

Become A Member Button

Follow WisCommunity on: