Racine police Chief Art Howell has been invited to explain to city council members the department’s policies on use of force and is expected to appear before a future Committee of the Whole meeting.

He was invited to give a presentation by Alderman Terry McCarthy to help the city take a more proactive position in case something happens here like has happened in other communities across the country, a story in The Journal Times reads.

“If anything were to happen in Racine, we should know how the Police Department would react,” McCarthy is quoted as saying. “I want to make sure we are prepared from a policy perspective, and procedural perspective. I want to know the chief’s thoughts on it and what he thinks makes sense.”

In his email invitation to Howell, McCarthy stressed asking for the presentation is about due diligence.

“Given all the publicity around the use of force by police, would you be willing to give a presentation to the Committee of the Whole regarding the Department’s policy around use of force and reviews of situations when it happens?  This is purely a diligence request,” he wrote.

Howell told Racine County Eye last March that Racine has not experienced officer-involved shootings like other areas for a number of reasons, including the success of the department’s Community Oriented Policing program and a roster of officers who are a reflection of the community they serve.

In an email to Racine County Eye, Howell said in addition to the COP program and other measures his department is using to building and maintain relationships with citizens, RAPD also utilizes a computer program to track complaints and use-of-force issues.

“Long before the series of high-profile national events that prompted interest in use of force incidents locally, our department acquired new computer software (IA Pro) that tracks all citizen complaints and use of force incidents,” he wrote. “This software was purchased to maintain and improve upon the high level of professionalism local residents have grown to expect under the community policing philosophy.”

Alderman Dennis Wiser anticipates Howell making his presentation before the next Common Council meeting in two weeks.

 

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