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Police oversight plan in La Crosse County sent back to county committee

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The idea of setting up a police oversight committee in La Crosse County is going back to a county board committee.

Thursday, supervisors approved a motion to have the criminal justice management council discuss the study plan more before a special committee is formed.

La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf told the county board that local law enforcement believes the planned oversight panel would be aimed at attacking law officers, especially if active officials are not allowed to serve on such a board.

“They’re gonna have to learn what these officers do, day in and day out,” Wolf said Thursday. “But when we’re told that we can’t be a part of this committee, that’s an attack on us, ’cause we want to be better.”

Wolf suggests having civilians go through a police academy before suggesting changes in law enforcement.

Supervisor Steve Doyle agreed with Wolf’s argument that civilians seem to be looking to find fault with the police.

“Perception is reality,” Doyle said. “And the perception among law enforcement right now is that this is something that is intended to get the police, or to punish them.”

Board members disagreed on whether the study plan should be taken up by the criminal justice council, which includes law enforcement and civilians, or by the board’s judiciary and law committee.

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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