La Crosse police chief: ‘Nobody hates a bad cop more than a good cop’
Chief Shawn Kudron cites his department's efforts to promote respect, dignity
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — “Nobody hates a bad cop more than a good cop,” La Crosse Police Chief Shawn Kudron said Monday in assuring a city commission that his department strives to avoid violent incidents like those that have roiled other cities throughout the country this year.
“Some things I have seen disgust me,” Kudron told members of the Neighborhood Revitalization Commission during a virtual meeting.
“Our job is a very important one,” Kudron said. “Our job is a very serious one. Our officers care very deeply about what they do.”
Treating people with dignity and respect is paramount, Kudron said, especially in light of violent protests nationally over George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and other cases in which police have killed people of color.
“People need to know they have safety,” the chief said as the commission discussed a draft of a statement on police practices.
Common Council member Larry Sleznikow asked Kudron what the department has learned during the violence-plagued summer elsewhere.
“At times, policing is difficult,” Kudron said “Policing is not always pleasant to observe or read about. Our agency in La Crosse has tried to stay in the forefront.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and social reform movements emerging from the violence have complicated matters for police agencies, he said.
Mayor Tim Kabat noted that several protests and demonstrations in La Crosse related to the unrest in Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles and San Francisco, Calif.; Atlanta, Ga.; New York City, and other major cities have been nearly 100 percent peaceful.
“I credit the police department and organizers … for being committed to constitutional rights and stay safe,” Kabat said.
Generally, “the focus has been on policing,” he said, adding, “But obviously, we have systemic racism in our country, in our state, in our city.”
Local demonstrators have focused more on citizen involvement and oversight, which the city and the county are studying, said Kabat, who is on a subcommittee of the La Crosse County Criminal Justice Management Council.
It makes more sense to have the county council involved instead individual cities and towns to reach a broader approach, he said.
The council plans public meetings at noon and 6 p.m. Oct. 6 to gather “community input on what people want to see” as far as citizen oversight, Kabat said. A survey also is planned, he said.
Community engagement and building relationships with stakeholders remain high priorities for the city’s police department, Kudron said.
“Neighborhood policing philosophy and problem-solving are very important (facets) we want to cultivate,” he said.
Many police officers who have observed the success the department has had with Neighborhood Resource Officers want to become involved in that program, Kudron said.
The department also is studying “co-responder” models in which police work together with social workers and mental health professionals, he said.
“If somebody is in crisis, we would be working with other professionals,” Kudron said.
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