Application letters are due by May 14. Include your name, address, phone number, and email address. Briefly state how your background qualifies you to serve on CJMC and how you will contribute to bettering our community. Email your letter of interest to MKruse@LaCrosseCounty.org or mail to: Monica Kruse, County Board Chair, 212 6th St. N., Room 2400, La Crosse, WI 54601.
We still have seen no tangible consequences for the person or persons who threatened and bullied a former CJMC member into resigning. It seems dealing with that lingering issue might be something the CJMC needs to address along with the City and the police chief. Applicants for these open seats might want assurances that the same thing won't happen to them
Response to complaints about that behavior have been lukewarm at best. One city council representative likened the actions to a teacher using her school email account to support a political campaign and claimed it was a "union issue" that couldn't be touched by the city. Maybe this person, too, was the recipient of police union bullying.
As government employees, those serving in the criminal justice system must be held to professional standards, and, ultimately, must serve the needs of the community as defined by the community. It's clear that LTS of things need to be redefined.
Many cities are already rethinking how candidates for law enforcement positions are accessed and how communty needs can be best met by public employees. Here are a few examples:
- Albuquerque, Denver, and others send mental health professionals and EMTs to deal with "wellness checks."
- Traffic enforcement duties are being shifted to Transportation Department workers.
- Part of police budgets are being reallocated for offices of violence prevention
- Replacing police in schools with more assistance services and mentor
The Washington Post recently published a whole series of articles about Reimagining Safety, including an excellent reflection on the personal qualities needed for a good "public safety" officer, by Cedric L. Alexander:
We don't have to keep doing things the way "it's always been." Many of the systems, assumptions, and practices we've inherited were set up originally to maintain an unjust, unfair, inequitable stays quo. The public has a right to define for itself what public employees will and will not do and to what end. Creative, passionate, courageous, knowledgeable, compassionate people on the CJMC and on other public boards and committees can make things better for all of us.