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Wisconsin Democrats want police use of force guidelines

Some Wisconsin Democrats want a standard set of guidelines telling police officers how to use force.

"There have been more incidents here in Wisconsin of officer-involved deaths," said State Representative Chris Taylor of Madison.

A bill introduced Wednesday lays out a set of principles that police departments statewide would need to include in their use of force policy. Those principles include preserving the life off all individuals is an officer's primary duty, deadly force is only a last resort and officers should use the least amount of force necessary.

State Senator Latonya Johnson of Milwaukee said the principles will, “Better protect the public while also protecting law enforcement in Milwaukee and across the state."

Legislators say many departments in Wisconsin have pieces of this proposal but argue no department includes all of them. "Milwaukee does have a duty to preserve life, that is a principal we are seeing incorporated more often now,” said State Senator Johnson.

This bill does not have bi-partisan support which any legislation needs in order to move through Wisconsin's Republican controlled legislature. State Senator Taylor says they are working on it, but finding that could be more difficult after the state's largest law enforcement union weighed in.

The group's Executive Director said in part, "Wisconsin has been a national leader in 21st century policing, but in proposing legislation under the inaccurate guise of creating something new when it already exists, is a little misleading and insulting, especially during National Police week.”

The legislators also want to make eight hours of de-escalation training a yearly requirement for cops, and make sure every law enforcement agencies post their use of force policy online.

The state's largest police union is more open to discussing those things.

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