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Despite delays, debate continues over police oversight

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LA CROSSE COUNTY, Wis. (WXOW) - Concerns over who is being heard lead to further delays in the creation of a police oversight committee.

On Wednesday, the Criminal Justice Management Council debated a resolution that was kicked back by the County Board last week. The resolution seeks to designate a group to explore how to implement such an oversight committee to meet La Crosse County's needs. It returned to the CJMC due to concerns that law enforcement was not included in the process.

"I realize the resolution now states that it would involve law enforcement, but I think we should take a step back, have some conversations, see what the problems are and see if we can resolve them without creating another subcommittee or ad hoc committee to create a committee to look at a committee," said La Crosse Co. Sheriff Jeff Wolf at Wednesday's meeting. "It just gets to be a waste of time."

Sheriff Wolf reiterating during the meeting his feeling that law enforcement is already taking measures to address peoples' concerns, citing the La Crosse Police Department's new mental health response model. However, one council member said further delaying an oversight committee discounts the experiences of people in minority communities who feel their concerns are not currently being heard.

Suthakaran Veerasamy closed his remarks by saying, "A bunch of people who are in power, who have the status quo--can we say for what it is--who have it good in this community don't want anything to change. Isn't that what we're talking about? Can we be honest? Then, maybe we can finally get something done."

The CJMC's chair, District Attorney Tim Gruenke, ultimately said the group will allow the County Board member who made the motion to send the resolution back to the council, State Rep. Steve Doyle, to talk with law enforcement further about their concerns and discuss with the CJMC next month.

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Dustin Luecke

Dustin Luecke anchors the News 19 6 pm and 10 pm Reports.

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