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Police Reform Task Force in Racine Issues Recommendations

Nov. 18, 2020 4:10 5p

(WGTD)---A task force that's  been studying police reform in Racine has issued its final report. 

The nearly 30-page-long document includes 10 recommendations, zeroing in on police oversight and accountability, officer body camera usage and use of force restrictions. 

The task force found that Racine Police already follow seven of eight 'best practices' on use of force. One recommendation that isn't addressed as either a matter of policy or practice is a ban on shooting at moving vehicles. 

The panel also seems to suggest that too many officers are ignoring the requirements for use of body cameras. It says the city needs to identify policy and procedural changes that would improve the percentage of officers that wear body cameras and actually have them activated during arrests and other critical incidents. 

Another area of concern is police oversight. The task force says the role of the city's Police and Fire Commission needs to be clarified. It also wants to see more study done on the merits of creating a Community Oversight Board. The panel also suggested that the procedure to be used in filing a complaint against police be better publicized.

As part of its work, the task force conducted listening sessions and surveyed residents. Nearly 1,500 people provided input. About 17% were Black and 73% were white.

There was a big gap between the races on the unfavorability rating given to the department. Only about 16% of the white respondents had an unfavorable view compared to 45% of the African-Americans who were surveyed. 

The city's Affirmative Action and Human Rights Commission is expected to discuss the report in an online meeting that's scheduled to take place Thursday afternoon at 4:30.