March 12, 2008
Police Pay to End!
Taylor Praises Legislative Compromise
MADISON –On Wednesday, the Senate passed SB 176 that ends the practice of paying fired Milwaukee police officers charged with serious crimes while they appeal the charges, a process that can take months or even years. The Senate’s action comes one day after the state Assembly passed its version of the bill late Wednesday evening.
Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) praised the actions of both legislative bodies, saying “This is a victory for the taxpayers of Milwaukee who will no longer have to pay the salaries of suspended officers who’ve abused their positions of public trust. If they’re not working for the city, they shouldn’t be drawing a salary.”
Under the version passed by both the Senate and the Assembly, pay would end for officers who are fired after being charged with felonies, Class A misdemeanors or Class B misdemeanors. If the officers are later found innocent, they would retain their reinstatement rights.
Another section of the bill expands the Fire and Police Commission from membership from five to either seven or nine members, depending on what Milwaukee’s mayor decides. It also allows the Commission to hear complaints in three-member panels. Current law requires that complaints be heard by the full body. By increasing the body’s membership and allowing panel hearings, the bill dramatically increases the Commission’s capacity to research and hear cases.
“Studies show that a lack of resources is really impeding the Commission’s ability to do its job,” said Taylor, “This bill gives the Commission more manpower and frees up more of its members to work on more cases. That adds up to more access for Milwaukee citizens, which is exactly what we need right now.”