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Ideas for better police activity discussed during La Crosse town hall

Brad Williams

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Police in La Crosse, and representatives of community groups, had a chance to talk with each other in a virtual town hall Wednesday night. 

The main topic during the two-hour discussion, was how police do their job, and whether the public can trust the officers, following demonstrations that came after the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.

Ebony Hyter is a vice president of ‘Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge,’ called BLACK for short. She’s concerned that black officers don’t seem to stay long on the city police force.

“It’s no secret that La Crosse has had a number of black police officers that have not stayed, and what changes need to be made for black people to feel welcome in the police force?” Hyter said.

She also said 4 or 5 officers often respond to police calls involving black people, who aren’t behaving in a threatening way. 

City police chief Shawn Kudron said his department has changed its hiring process, but recruiting is tough.

“It’s a difficult venture to, not only recruit police officers … but also to find diverse police officers that’ll want to be here in La Crosse and want to work in La Crosse,” Kudron said.

The new police chief at UW-La Crosse, Allen Hill, said he had an encounter with city cops shortly after moving here last year, when someone called to complain about him sitting in his car.

Chauncey Turner of the city’s Human Rights Commission says he’d like to see improved training for local police.

Other panelists said police need to make more of an effort to meet with black residents, to understand their concerns, such as attending block parties, out of uniform.

 

     

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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