Unity Project Action Committee
COMMUNITY-POLICE PARTNERSHIP TEAM
Taking local action in partnership with community and police to:
FURTHER EQUAL JUSTICE
BUILD BRIDGES OF COMMUNICATION
FOSTER BETTER UNDERSTANDING
Building Bridges of Connection and Communication
The Community-Police Partnership Team, co-chaired by Kaia Fowler and Sue Johnson, was established in 2020 to foster connections and communication between all community members, the Police Department and City in regards to issues of policing.
In summer 2021, we surveyed the community and learned about experiences with policing here. We needed to know where things stand now to be able to chart a path to where we want to be. The survey was a success and analysis of results will be completed by the end of the year. See more about the results of the survey project and other CPPT activities on our Community-Police Team Project Page.
The Team seeks members who represent diverse communities within Fort Atkinson to join us as we plan the path forward. Please use the "Contact Me" button on the Meet the Team page to get in touch with Kaia Fowler or Sue Johnson.
The survey, and other CPPT efforts, were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and expand from there to address other concerns. This includes looking at equal justice issues for all vulnerable groups in our community: persons who identify as LGBTQ+, have a physical or mental disability, live in a low-income household or have some other disadvantaged status or identity.
We're doing our part to support a safe and welcoming community for all!
VOICES FROM THE COMMUNITY POLICE SURVEY
"...I watched an officer within the last year stare down and drive slowly by an African American man merely fishing at the river."
"Someone side swiped my car, the police officer arrived promptly, handled the situation calmly and explained everything I needed to know to me clearly."
"I know of a Black teenager feeling harassed by police for hanging out in Festival parking lot, and I do not think that would never have happened to a white teenager. This happened a few years ago."
"Called to report vandalism to outdoor holiday decor, they sent an officer out within 15 minutes. They listened to my complaint, looked over situation, made a report, and did extra patrolling in my neighborhood."
"Unless you are from a family that holds a position in the community, you are treated unfairly. They do not handle people with mental disabilities properly. They are judgmental as to who they think deserves to be treated
as equal to a chosen few."
"I came home from work one day to find 3 police cars and an ambulance in my driveway. Since I could not get into my garage due to one of the cars directly in front of my entrance I sat in my car. I was able to observe the interactions between the police and the person they were dealing with. This person was not from my neighborhood but I later learned had tried to elude the police and had ended up here. From what I observed this person, who was resisting, was treated with as little force as could be used to try to get him to comply. Once he was relaxed enough, he was gently placed on a gurney and put in the ambulance. The police were asked by several people what was taking place. The police did not violate the individual's privacy but assured the residents they were not in any danger."
"My brother is intellectually disabled. While innocently playing a game of softball, he was descended upon by four Fort officers. He was cuffed and thrown in the back of a car, despite the fact that disabled members of our community are not supposed to be separated from their guardians. This is as egregious as taking a minor child away from their parents. The officers eventually realized they had the wrong person. [The police arrested him because they were] looking for a guy named Ruben. Thinking that all Mexicans look the same, that any guy with a Mexican-sounding name must be the guy they're after, that is the very definition of implicit bias. After the incident, the head officer was told to apologize to my brother but he refused. When this issue was discussed, [police leadership came across as] adversarial, arrogant, and dismissive. [They] refused to acknowledge that
my brother was racially profiled and that his civil rights
under the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] were violated."
"Personally, I was in an abusive relationship and the police were a Godsend. However, my daughter pointed out that the officer said to us that perhaps the abuser had learned his lesson. I hope the department will do some more training because the professional help I received advised me that there is a very small number of abusers that rehabilitate. Further, victims have a very difficult time leaving and the statement said by the officer would harm the victim by helping them to believe things would change when there is a very slim chance."
"A good friend related a story about a carload of young men being pulled over and only the black man was told to get out of the car and searched. I understand the teller of the story, who was there, could have been lying or the black man was the only one who was suspected, but if it's true I don't like it."