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La Crosse sheriff defends police work

Brad Williams

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Seems very few people were surprised this week, when Kenosha County did not bring charges against police who shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake last summer. 

That incident and the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody have led members of the public to argue that police can’t be trusted to police themselves. 

But the sheriff of La Crosse County, Jeff Wolf, says law officers do try to help the community, through activities aimed at building public trust.

Wolf tells a county law enforcement committee that his department could not do many community outreach activities in 2020 because of COVID-19: “The things we’ve started, the Halloween candy giveaway, and the Juneteenth event, and the day at the lake.”

“Thirty years ago, we did one thing to build community relationships,” said Wolf, “and that was direct traffic at the county fair.”

The sheriff says his department gets many more compliments from citizens than complaints. 

The county’s criminal justice planning committee is preparing a community survey on local attitudes toward police, and a watchdog committee.          

County board chair Monica Kruse told Wolf that the public has a perception that police just stick together and protect each other, to the detriment of the community. 

    

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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