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La Crosse County to do more study of racism by police

Brad Williams

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The recent deaths of some black Americans at the hands of police have made law officers a bit defensive, and eager to make changes. 

La Crosse area police reps spoke out Wednesday during the monthly meeting of the county criminal justice management council (CJMC). 

Police Chief Shawn Kudron of La Crosse sought some advice, saying “How do we come together as people who care a lot about the La Crosse community, that care a lot about raising our families here, and care a lot about each other? But we need to be better. We need to do something different than what we’ve done in the past.”    

Charles Ashbeck, Onalaska’s new police chief, says changes in police training might not lead to immediate attitude changes, because many officers only get a few hours of training during a typical year.        

Law enforcement leaders in the La Crosse area need to listen more to people in the community who are not white, according to UW-L psychology professor Suthakaran Veerasamy, who sits on the CJMC.

“You can’t hear people like me, when we speak from the heart,” said Veerasamy. “That’s why it keeps happening. This is not a police problem. This is a cultural problem.”

The management council is planning to form study committees, to find out how to reduce tensions between non-white citizens and police.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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