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Survey on attitudes toward police defended

Brad Williams

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Is a survey about police activity in La Crosse slanted in any way?

A member of the La Crosse police and fire commission said survey responses are being reviewed now, before a report is released in the next two months.

A subcommittee of the local Criminal Justice Management Council organized the online survey, to help determine if an oversight committee should be formed to monitor La Crosse law enforcement, in the wake of Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

La Crosse County Republican Party chair Bill Feehan has criticized the survey for asking about the race and gender of people responding.

Feehan suggests those questions indicate that the survey organizers already know what their recommendation will be.

Some speakers at recent online forums about police activity in La Crosse have been vocal in wanting the La Crosse School District to end its School Resource Officer program, which puts police in school buildings.

Police and fire commission member Nese Nasif said efforts are being made to weed out any attempts to slant the survey results, looking out for “ballot-box stuffers.”

Nasif told the commission that she is “currently running certain tests of that to try and glean some answers that seem to be batched together for certain characteristics.”

She added that the survey drew about 1,400 responses.

Feehan has asked whether the group of people surveyed should have been more diverse.

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.