Independent Investigation bill heads to Governor
The bill requires the investigation report be made public if the district attorney decides not to prosecute the officer involved and requires that family members of the deceased be notified about their legal rights and remedies.
MADISON – Today, the Senate joined the Assembly in passing Assembly Bill 409, which requires outside investigators to lead and assist in the investigation of deaths involving law enforcement officers. The bill now heads to Governor Scott Walker’s desk.
Bill authors Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), brought together families of the deceased, community advocates and representatives of the law enforcement community to draft a consensus bill.
“As a former deputy sheriff, I believe it was important to craft a bill that provides for independent, meaningful investigations of officer-involved deaths while ensuring law enforcement can continue to protect and serve our communities,” said Bies. “If the initial investigation is not done correctly, nothing gets done correctly. I am extremely pleased this bill is headed to Governor Walker’s desk and I am hopeful he will sign it.”
Additionally, the bill requires the investigation report be made public if the district attorney decides not to prosecute the officer involved and requires that family members of the deceased be notified about their legal rights and remedies. These provisions were important to families to assist their efforts to obtain answers about the death of a loved one and to help them navigate a sometimes complicated administrative and legal process.
“Though this bill will not bring loved ones back, I am hopeful that it will establish a fairer, more transparent process for families and law enforcement,” said Taylor. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with Rep. Bies on a bill that is so important to the people in my community and throughout the state. The last step is to make sure it gets signed into law.”
A recently released public opinion survey conducted for the Wisconsin Professional Police Association showed 81 percent of Wisconsinites supported a law requiring outside investigations of officer-involved deaths. If AB-409 becomes law, Wisconsin would be the first state in the nation with a statewide policy of independent investigations into officer-involved deaths.
For more information, contact:
Rep. Garey Bies, 608.266.5350
Rep. Chris Taylor, 608.266.5342