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Gov. Walker to sign outside investigations into officer-involved deaths bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - It appears that Wisconsin's largest police departments will lose the ability to investigate their own officers involved in the deaths of suspects.

And that's got officials bracing for a culture shift.  

Governor Scott Walker has indicated that he'll sign a bill requiring all Wisconsin law enforcement to use outside investigators in officer-involved deaths. That's standard procedure for smaller agencies -- but for the first time, the Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay police departments will be judged by outsiders.  

The Associated Press quotes experts who say those outside investigators could be treated with animosity.

Green Bay police lieutenant Chad Ramos expects a number of unknowns. He said his department has transparent investigations, and he wonders why his officers cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.

Dane County and Madison have a pool of investigators that can look into any officer-involved death throughout the county. Milwaukee County has been talking about the same thing.  

Lawmakers of both parties proposed the requirement after three high profile deaths of suspects by officers in Milwaukee, Madison, and Kenosha.  

The state Justice Department said officers killed 41 people from 2008 through last April -- and all were found to be justified.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)