Wausau Policing Task Force is approaching final recommendations

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – The Wausau Police Working Group is getting closer to submitting its recommendations to the City Council. The task force meeting on Monday evening has been postponed but there is more of a feel for what their recommendations might be.

Key recommendations discussed by the Task Force include mental health, community engagement, cultural awareness, and officer well-being and training. You said these recommendations would help create a more efficient department. Their recommendations are based on more than 1,000 surveys and various studies.

“We have been given a mission. We did that, we interviewed the community and involved them as best we could, and now it is time to present that, “said John Robinson, chairman of the Policing Task Force.

Robinson said they had completed the officer’s well-being and training recommendation. They also ended mental health services. This means engaging social workers to provide support in situations involving people with mental health problems, rather than leaving it to officials. Robinson said having the right people in the right situation is important, but there will be a cost.

“That takes resources, money and people,” said Robinson. “So it will ultimately be a decision of the city council how best to finance it.”

One topic that the task force may soon finalize is cultural awareness. This means helping police officers better understand different groups such as the Hmong community, African American, Afghans, and LGBTQ people.

Community engagement is another topic they discuss. This recommendation would allow better communication and connection with the people living in Wausau in order to build trust with the police.

“There are certain sections of the population who are struggling with their relationship with the police, I think that requires us to be careful,” said Robinson.

Although the task force did not meet on Monday evening, they hope to meet next week to finalize their recommendations. They expect to submit them to the city council in February.

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