La Crosse County is being asked to start a civilian committee to review law enforcement activity in the area.
A special study panel has spent nearly two years working on the idea. Former County Board chair Tara Johnson has served on the committee. She thinks the group has made good progress in proposing a review board.
“I think we always were able to share those perspectives and move to practical and positive conversations, and the recommendations that we are presenting to you,” Johnson said Monday, presenting during the County Board of Supervisors monthly planning meeting.
The civilian board would have 5-7 members. The study group, which included input from law enforcement and members of the public, also has suggested developing history studies for local law enforcement related to how police interact with people of different races.
La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said the proposal resembles a statewide committee he has served on.
“The purpose was to get a complaint from a victim,” Gruenke said. “We couldn’t change an arrest, we couldn’t change a case, we couldn’t change a conviction or sentence, had no authority to do that. But we tried to do something remedial there, sometimes an apology was in order.”
No action has been taken yet on the civilian review board idea. The report given to the board also included a recommendation to expand a mental health response team to the entire county.