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Members of policing committee want answers about hand signal made by sheriff’s deputy in public photo

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Is any action being taken against a La Crosse County deputy, who appeared to make a white supremacy gesture in a sheriff’s department photo online?

It doesn’t look like much has been done, according to members of a county committee formed to study local police activity.

Members of the panel are upset that Sheriff Jeff Wolf didn’t attend the committee meeting on Tuesday to respond to questions. Vincent Loera serves on the committee, and he wants to know if the county is trying to make workplaces “hate-free.”

“I don’t know exactly what the allegation is, that this officer is being investigated for,” he said. “I guess my only other question I have for the sheriff’s department (is) what policies and procedures do they have to keep a hate-free workspace,” and what actions are supposed to be taken in a situation like this.

The photo of Sheriff Wolf and several deputies at the Country Boom festival this month was briefly posted on Wolf’s sheriff Facebook page, until complaints were heard about the apparent “OK” sign given by one deputy.

Committee chair Tara Johnson said the panel does not have the power to punish county employees who may be caught doing offensive things. Another member, Amanda Goodenough, says she’s “disappointed” by the apparent lack of action against the deputy.

Goodenough commented about “a lot of people who did not feel safe giving that feedback, and people talking about retaliation.”

The sheriff and the police chiefs of La Crosse and Onalaska are standing members of the county policing 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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