Sheriff Lucas on officer training, recruitment

Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas oversees Wisconsin's largest sheriff's office

Now, he's also a member of the state's Law Enforcement Standards Board – having a bigger say in how departments recruit and train officers.

Sheriff Lucas calls it a "high honor" to be named to the board by Gov. Tony Evers. He said the role is more important now than it's ever been following a year of intense rhetoric, protests and calls for change.

"I think we're held to a higher standard, but we ought to be proud of that fact," Sheriff Lucas said.

The Law Enforcement Standards Board is a policy-making group within the Wisconsin Department of Justice. It is responsible for setting minimum standards for recruiting, educating and training law enforcement officers.

"I'm very confident that we receive some of the finest law enforcement training anywhere in the country. For that matter, anywhere in the world, here in Wisconsin," said Sheriff Lucas. "But, you know, we all have to be sensitive to the changing mood here in the country."

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Sheriff Lucas said law enforcement has responded to change before, incorporating cultural bias training and more. However, after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a now-former Minneapolis police officer and the protests that followed.

He said the board must listen to what the people of Wisconsin want from police. He hopes to bridge a dividing gap between those wearing the badge and the people they serve.

"Really makes it even more critical that the work that we do as law enforcement leaders and providing more training for our members is even more important and critical now," Sheriff Lucas said.

Though his term began May 1, Sheriff Lucas has not taken part in a meeting yet. The board meets quarterly, with its next scheduled for June 1.

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