The Wisconsin chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after the Wisconsin State Senate voted to pass SB 123, which would require the Wisconsin Department of Justice to publish an annual report on use of force incidents by law enforcement. The bill would require the Wisconsin Department of Justice to collect data and publish an annual report on use of force incidents by law enforcement, including when there is a shooting, if a firearm is discharged in the direction of a person, and whether serious bodily harm resulted from the incident.
“The legislature took an important step today toward increasing transparency into police misconduct,” said Jenevia Blanks, a volunteer with the Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We need fundamental changes to policing in our state but this annual report would help promote transparency, shine a light on the all-too frequent police violence impacting our communities, and create change to help prevent incidents like the police shooting of Jacob Blake and others across the entire country. We are thankful that the Senate is standing with us in the fight to prevent police violence.”
Law enforcement agencies must adopt meaningful use of force policies, which encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who break the law can be held accountable. Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, and in an average year, 18 people are shot and killed by police in Wisconsin.