When an officer is involved in the death of a suspect in their custody, an impartial review by an outside agency needs to be done. State Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) says that’s the goal of a bill approved by the state Assembly Tuesday, which requires an independent review of officer-involved deaths.
The Sister Bay Republican says having another agency review the circumstances surrounding the death of a person in police custody “will give the public confidence, give the relatives of the person that died more confidence,” while also providing more credibility to the results of an investigation.
Many smaller departments already require an outside review of cases involving their own officers, but Madison and Milwaukee do not. That practice has resulted in strong public backlash in some cases where officers avoided charges after someone died while in their custody. The bill requires all agencies to use at least two outside investigators to review a death, with a report sent to prosecutors.
The bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and now heads to the state Senate.