Bills requiring police undergo psychological exams before hire, drug tests after a shooting pass Assembly

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Assembly approved numerous police reform measures including banning police from using chokeholds unless an officer is in a life-threatening situation, and requiring officers to take a drug test after they're involved in a shooting, but some Democrats say they don't go far enough.

A majority of the bills passed with bipartisan support, but some Democrats were frustrated some proposals stop short, such as a complete ban on chokeholds and prohibiting no-knock warrants.

Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) said after seeing violence and police brutality in his own community, he wanted to see much more accomplished.

"Leadership missed the opportunity to meet this moment and the urgency it deserved," said Bowen. "I support these bills because we have to do these things, but we have to do a hell of a lot more."

A proposal prohibiting police from using chokeholds, except in life-threatening situations, will now head to Gov. Tony Evers' desk.

Other bills that passed the Assembly would mandate law enforcement agencies to share employee profiles with other departments during a hiring process and require officers to take a psychological exam before they're hired.

Another bill would track the use of no-knock warrants, require drug tests for officers who shoot someone and develop training programs for school resource officers.

The proposals come from a bipartisan Legislative Task Force on Racial Disparities which was created in wake of a Kenosha police officer shooting a Black man, Jacob Blake, in August 2020.

Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) were the co-chairs of the task force and acknowledged their work is far from over, but called the bills a step in the right direction.

"No matter what we did, there were going to be people from the outside that say it doesn't go far enough or it goes too far," said Steineke. "But It's not about scoring political victories, it's really about moving the ball forward for communities of color."

An additional proposal passed by lawmakers would require Wisconsin’s Department of Justice to collect additional data on use of force incidents, including officer-involved shootings, and then publish an annual report.

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