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.