Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) co-authored the 2014 legislation that requires an outside investigation into officer-involved shootings. That law led to the 2015 shooting of Tony Robinson by Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny to be investigated by the state Department of Justice. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne declined to file charges after that investigation.
Taylor wants to further that progress by changing the way cases are reviewed and preventing officer-involved shootings from happening at all.
“In the face of these tragedies I think that the focus should be prevent these incidents in the first place,” Taylor said. “We must reform law enforcement use of force standards as recommended by legal experts, and law enforcement organizations and professionals,” she said in a statement.
Taylor has been working on two bills she believes will minimize the number of officer-involved shootings. One would require eight hours of training on de-escalation techniques each year. Another bill requires law enforcement officers to incorporate five key policies to reduce incidents of deadly force. Those practices include: the primary duty of law enforcement to preserve life of all individuals, deadly force to be used only as a last resort, physical force should be limited to the least amount of force necessary, de-escalation tactics and that all law enforcement officers should stop or prevent any unreasonable use of force.
“We have seen departments from all over the country really reform use of force policies and make a big difference in protecting law enforcement and the community,” said Taylor
Taylor said many police departments across the country, including those in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Seattle, that have adopted similar recommendations have seen a reduction in the number of use of force incidents.
“In making sure these policies are a bit more specific is, it established a tone and it gives the public some accountability. The public doesn’t see how police officers are trained but what they do see is the policies of the department,” she said.