Common Council approves measures of transparency between law enforcement and the community
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the Common Council approved two measures which they say will allow for transparency between law enforcement and the community.
“It just makes sense,” says Alderwoman Milele Coggs. “People should know who they’re interacting with in law enforcement.”
The legislation requires federal law enforcement to wear visible identification marks while on duty. The resolution was brought forth by Coggs, who says it’s in response to the recent events seen in Portland, Oregon between protesters and federal agents.
“There are two congresswomen who have entered legislation, given what happened in Portland recently, with the allegations of federal agents being on the ground with protesters with no identifiability on them,” says Coggs.
The resolution would require agents to be identifiable.
“With the talk of them coming to Milwaukee, I thought it was important for us to go on the record and support that legislation and have our lobbyist fight for the passage,” says Coggs.
Officials say the federal response in Milwaukee will not be the same as the federal response in Portland.
Coggs felt the measure was still needed.
“They will be investigators, but time will only tell,” says Coggs. “Regardless, citizens should know who they’re interacting with.”
In keeping transparency at the local level, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis introduced a resolution urging the Fire and Police Commission to require members of the police department to hand out business cards when interacting with someone.
“Often times, people have encounters with officers and they’re not really sure who they’re dealing with,” says Lewis. “What we’ve been getting complaints about and seeing often is the officer would withhold their badge number or their information. They may have their last name, but they don’t give out the district they’re attached to.”
This would then make it easier for a person to file a complaint or give credit when due.
“Nothing personal to them, we still want to make sure we’re protecting officers,” says Lewis. “But if there is a negative encounter or a positive encounter, they will be able to reach that officer at that district.”
Both measures passed unanimously. Lewis' measure will now go before the Fire and Police Commission.
CORRECTION: This article previously stated both measures would go before the Fire and Police Commission for consideration and vote.