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Police study committee in La Crosse suggests citizen review board, greater mental health response



After almost two years of meetings and study, a La Crosse County committee on policing has issued its report.

The study committee recommends appointing a citizen review board to monitor law enforcement activity. The committee report also suggests additional training for law officers and expanding a mental health response team to the entire county.

Onalaska Police Chief Charles Ashbeck has been involved in the discussions, which he says have been healthy and vibrant.

“For all of us to hear each other’s sides, keep an open mind, which I feel like the committee really did a good job at, is being respectful to each other, listening and hearing all sides of that, I know for myself it opened my eyes in many areas, and I appreciated that,” Ashbeck told the board Tuesday.

Concerns about local police activity, and possible bias by law enforcement, have been studied by that committee.

Dr. Lisa Kruse teaches criminal justice at UW-La Crosse and worked on the study panel.

She says the committee wants local residents to know more of the city police’s history, specifically in areas like race relations.

“We recognize that law enforcement is doing a lot of training related to bias,” Kruse said, “but we felt that what was missing there, what we didn’t see, was a history both local, regional, and more nationally.”

The study committee on policing has been meeting on a regular basis since it was founded in early 2022.

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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