(MADISON)—Today the Wisconsin State Senate passed Assembly Bill 409, which requires law enforcement agencies to have a written policy regarding the handling of deaths involving an officer. The measure calls for two of the three investigators to be from an agency that does not employ an officer involved in the death being investigated. It also requires the district attorney to submit the report to the board of officer review in the Department of Justice. The board must review the report to ensure it addresses all aspects of the death and may request further information from the investigative team.

“Law enforcement officers are the front line of our justice system. Their heroic actions help to ensure that our communities are kept safe, and I know that we all sleep better knowing that they’re out there. However, that kind of power requires oversight. Trust leads to cooperation, greater understanding and an all-around safer state,” Taylor said. Emphasizing that the bill is not about crucifying officials, but rather ensuring fairness in the process, Taylor continued by noting that “a set procedure that includes different perspectives will guarantee that each case is viewed with an impartial eye.”

“I would like to thank the Assembly co-authors of the bills; Representative Gary Bies and Representative Chris Taylor for their leadership on this legislation, and the relentless advocacy of Michael Bell Sr., whose son was killed by a police officer in 2004. But the Bell’s story is just one on a list of tragic and avoidable deaths around the state. I hope that more thorough investigations will give comfort to families going through an emotional, heartbreaking ordeal, and prevent future deaths.”

For further information, contact Senator Taylor’s office at (414) 342-7176