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Police shooting adds urgency to rift between police and courts

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Suddenly there is a greater urgency to the issue of community safety. A La Crosse police officer was shot on Saturday, allegedly by a man with a long criminal history. Fortunately, the officer survived, thanks to his bullet-proof vest. But this incident is certain to heighten the debate between police and our local court system. The interim police chief has been critical of La Crosse County judges whom he argues are soft on crime. Repeat offenders, back before the courts time and time again, only to be released on a signature bond. The man to face charges in the shooting of a La Crosse officer has been in and out of courts. At his most recent appearance in court on July 11, the suspect was facing charges of possession of methamphetamine. He was released on a $2000 signature bond, with conditions that he face drug testing. It is not clear if he was ever subjected to testing, but he didn’t even bother to show up for his preliminary hearing in that case, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He has been arrested, but not before allegedly shooting a cop. This case reinforces the need for local police and judges to find common ground on how best to punish lawbreakers. If you thought police were upset before, imagine the ire now that one of their own have been shot. Tensions are high. But the conversations need to be had. Because the next time, someone who is still a danger to the community is released, the outcome may not be as fortunate.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

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    Larry Vongroven

    August 5, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    If you think the squishy signature bond issue rests between cops and judges Scott, you are not paying attention.
    Citizens are acutely aware that if their SOLE line of defense (equipped with guns, vests and the powers of arrest) are being attacked at will by criminals and that work ignored by the Courts which are charged with evaluating a reasonable bond on such a charge an blowing it rather than “rocking” their cozy status quo, those cirizens rightly understand that their butts have no reason to feel safe or protected in any sense of those words.
    Just as giving a serial forger a signature bond and believing that forger gives creedence to that document but none of the others before is sheer folly.
    It is reasonable to believe that anyone violating a signature bond while honor the next one is also folly but judges do it almost autpmatically. The important thing to note is that dignature bond amounts are MEANINGLESS-absolutely farsical Monopoly money that are meaningless to all but the judge and possibly to reporters.
    It is time and it is entirely within the pervue of the judges to stop the Pollyanna foppish games of pretend and get serious with serious criminal allegations, most certainly those charged with crimes as a repeater and any involving acts involving violence.
    I have noticed that both DA Gruenke and others want, in their denial of major issues with sig bonds, that they include the multitude of sig bonds issued for minor traffic and other minor musdemeanors. This in itself is an admission that there are problems that need to be obscured in order to hide the true issues.
    In the legal system the job of cops are to arrest people doing illegal things, report the pure facts available at the time and let the Courts go the job of determining guilt and punishment.
    That dynamic has fallen of the rails with a nearly complete surrender to rihhts and needs of the defendant to the point of being laughable were it not so pathetic. It is time to veer back to center stage, take back Jurisprudence from the wishlist of uber-liberal who feel the need to coddle or at the least, get along with their benchmates.
    Perhaps the saddest thing about our judgeships is that most judges appear to be chosen by the local bar, challengers are not welcomed and the voters have a single choice on the ballot. Pity that one needs (apparently) to be a lawyer and therefore not the chosen product of the culture bent on freeing every defendant or minimizing his guilt, misplaced compassion.
    The only people who truly and narrowly give a whit anymore about a defendant getting a fair bond and trial anymore are the cops; they invest their lives, their livelihood to protect and serve; it is no wonder then that cops are finally fed up to the point of speaking out to the institutional injustice they can no longer tolerate.
    We should thank Mr. Kruk for so eloquently demonstrating just how dangerous the mindless signature bond fetish in La Crosse county courtrooms actually has become. The wonder of it is that this near tragedy hasn’t occurred several dozen times before this week.

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    Patricia Downs

    August 6, 2019 at 6:23 am

    I’m waiting for the audio and video footage for this incident. We don’t even know the name of the police officer and I think that’s odd. A LaCrosse county judge signed a felony warrant on this guy for failure to appear at his preliminary hearing on July 24, Did the person that called for police aid give the name of the offender? The process for this guy seems to be in line with the legislative procedures.

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      R.Walker

      August 6, 2019 at 7:39 am

      Wow,your biggest concern is the police officer’s name was not published!
      This felon shot a police officer during the day in a downtown neighborhood.
      Citizens including children could have been injured or killed much less the officer who was sent to do his job with keeping us safe. This is just another example of having laws on the books (Felons not possessing firearms) that make a mockery of our justice system.

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