An official with the state’s largest police union is raising concerns about a pair of proposed bills that are aimed at bringing more transparency to law enforcement procedures.
One of the bills, proposed earlier this month by Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson), would require departments to develop written policies on the use of “no knock” raids, where officers forcefully enter a location unannounced to execute a warrant. A second bill mandates that departments collect data on their use of SWAT teams, such as when they are deployed and the outcomes of those actions.
The Hudson Republican says both measures would help to ensure the public knows more about how their local law enforcement agencies are operating.
Wisconsin Professional Police Association executive director Jim Palmer says he understands there are concerns about the use of force by officers. However, he notes that warrants are approved by judges on a very case-by-case basis, after carefully reviewing the facts. The actions are intended to minimize the risk to law enforcement and ensure evidence is not destroyed.
Palmer says trying to nail down a specific policy on the use of a no knock raid could also be very difficult for many departments, considering the wide variety of factors that go in to determining when officers make a forced entry. “There really is no one-size fits all kind of policy that can govern their use,” Palmer argues.
A similar argument can be made about data collection, Palmer says, since it’s hard to measure the success of using a SWAT team based on factors like guns or drugs seized in the process. He says the data departments end up collecting could actually be misleading and “confuse the public” about how law enforcement operates.
Both bills are currently being circulated at the Capitol for co-sponsors.