By Joella Striebel
A subcommittee of the La Crosse County Criminal Justice Management Council is seeking public input from residents of La Crosse County on the formation of a civilian police oversight or advisory board.
The online survey (click here to participate) will be available to complete until February 5, 2021. This survey seeks to understand what sort of authority community members expect such a board to have and what the scope of their duties might be. It further assesses respondents’ current level of understanding of how and where to report complaints or concerns about police conduct, and how they might respond to various scenarios. Survey respondents will remain anonymous, and data from the responses will help to inform the subcommittee’s recommendations for police oversight.
The survey items took four months to produce. The process included seeking input from a variety of audiences, including academicians with expertise in survey design, government officials, and the general public. The chief objective of collecting this data is to get a broad and generalizable perspective of how civilians in the region are able to navigate their communications to government authorities when it comes to concerns about policing. The survey is anonymous, and the subcommittee will use the data in aggregate to inform decisions. The entire dataset, with the exclusion of respondent characteristics, will be available for the general public to request once collection and analysis are complete. For the safety and confidentiality, respondent characteristics will be available outside of the subcommittee only in aggregate form.
The subcommittee was initiated by the Criminal Justice Management Council in June of 2020 in the wake of local protests held in response to police in Minneapolis killing George Floyd in late May. Protestors called for increased accountability and transparency for local law enforcement. The subcommittee has held one community listening session and hopes to hear from a diverse representation of residents of La Crosse county with attention to populations who are disproportionately impacted by policing practices.
Joella Striebel is a Citizen Member of the La Crosse County CJMC and the Chair of the Civilian Oversight subcommittee
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