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Law enforcement review board approved by La Crosse County Board



La Crosse County is moving ahead with a civilian review board of law enforcement activity within the county.

The county board approved the idea Thursday night on a 15-10 vote.

Earlier in the board’s meeting, supervisors turned down a motion to delay a vote on the plan until May, so more study could be done.

The concept of a citizen panel to monitor local police work was proposed after two years of discussion by a special county committee.

Supervisor Kim Cable said at the meeting the review board would not have any power to overrule city or town governments on disciplinary action or personnel issues.

“We aren’t trying to step in and take over law enforcement agencies or police departments,” she said.

A recent local opinion poll showed about 70 percent of people surveyed opposed the creation of such a review board.

Among critics of the idea, supervisor David Hundt argued that communities such as Holmen, Bangor and West Salem had been left out of the discussions.

Hundt said he spoke with the police chief in West Salem, and that the chief “had no idea what they were talking about.”

“He knows that they’re trying to form this committee,” Hundt said, “but he has no clue as to what’s going on.”

The board would be made up of five to seven civilian members, who would serve for a two-year trial period.

County Board chair Monica Kruse said this plan is not intended to be the “final blueprint” for the study 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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  1. Come On Man

    February 16, 2024 at 7:50 am

    So 70% of the survey opposed the idea of an oversight committee and they still went ahead and voted to form one?
    Why even ask the citizens what they think if you are going to do what you want anyways?
    The issues that happened up in Minneapolis is not what is going on here. Criminals complaining about being harassed by the police? The city of La Crosse has a Fire & Police Commission and the smaller cities that surround La Crosse don’t seem to have issues that their own common councils and review boards can handle.
    Perhaps the county board should put forth an effort in the area that could benefit the entire region like the homeless issue and don’t try and fix a problem we don’t have.

    • Patricia

      February 20, 2024 at 2:18 pm

      A key number is missing- how many surveys were returned or filled out by how many people and where do the responders reside? Another critical piece of information would include money or no money to be on this board- this board or panel did exist and actually when a sheriff department member displayed a questionable hand gesture in a department photo the sheriff department declined action. I have no idea what discussions the board and department had or if the citizen panel was part of them

  2. Greg

    March 3, 2024 at 6:56 pm

    La Crosse police and sheriffs deputies are some of the best, most patient and professional cops I’ve ever encountered. Forming a committee to look over the shoulders of the administrators is a total waste of county resources. I’m sure there are many safeguards already in place to ensure the bad cops stay out. This committee is an overreach.

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