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Crime-and-courts
Man killed in Monroe County standoff identified, officers involved also ID'd

TOWN OF LEON — The man killed last week in a Monroe County officer-involved shooting was identified Monday as Michael Lee Nguyen.

Nguyen, 32, was shot by police during a stand-off at The Cotter Pin, a restaurant and bar in the town of Leon.

Authorities responded to The Cotter Pin for a domestic violence call the evening of Nov. 5. Patrons were barricaded inside the business, and law enforcement officers negotiated with an armed man, identified as Nguyen, outside the business.

Monroe County sheriff’s deputies and a Sparta police officer shot the man. Officers immediately provided medical aid, but the man later died of injuries at a local hospital, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Three Monroe County Sheriff deputies and one Sparta Police officer were placed on administrative leave, per department policy. They were identified Monday as Sgt. Ryan Oswald, Deputy Jason Rice, Deputy Ethan Young and Officer Kyle Gurolski.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation and will turn over its report to the Monroe County district attorney once the investigation concludes.

No law enforcement personnel were injured.


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune 

Bangor firefighters work at the scene of a house fire Monday morning on 18th Ave. S. Firefighters returned to the scene later in the day for a minor flareup. Fire officials haven't released further details about the fire or the conditions of anyone at the home.


Govt-and-politics
topical top story
Assembly to take up hemp regulation, Bible Week resolution in Tuesday session

The Assembly is slated to vote on rules to transition the state’s pilot hemp program to a permanent one, while also taking up discussion on a resolution establishing a “National Bible Week.”

The Assembly on Tuesday will discuss proposed legislation to bring the state’s hemp program in line with the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill aims to assist farmers, processors and retailers in the state’s rapidly expanding hemp industry.

New rules would allow participants to opt in to a communication network to better assist with connecting farmers with processors.

Lawmakers in August amended the bill to codify state practice in regard to THC tests, which would allow for up to one nanogram of THC per liter in the bloodstream. CBD oil, a legal hemp product, includes small amounts of THC.

The Senate last month approved the bill 31-2. If approved Tuesday, it would head to the governor’s office.

In 2017, Wisconsin lawmakers approved a hemp pilot program, which was officially launched the following year by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

In the program’s first year, 347 people applied for licenses to grow or process hemp. Of the 247 licenses issued to grow hemp, 135 people grew 1,872 acres of hemp.

This year, more than 2,200 applications were received, with DATCP issuing 1,308 licenses to grow hemp and another 618 licenses to process.

‘National Bible Week’

Assembly Republicans on Tuesday are expected to vote on a resolution proclaiming Thanksgiving week as “National Bible Week.”

The resolution states the week “encourages us to read the Bible,” a document the resolution says “contributed to the molding of the spiritual, moral, and social fiber of our citizenry.”

According to the resolution, National Bible Week was first declared by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941.

Resolutions don’t establish laws, but rather typically serve as symbolic statements.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Paul Tittl, Manitowoc; Scott Allen, Waukesha; Janel Brandtjen, Menomonee Falls; Barbara Dittrich, Oconomowoc; Rick Gundrum, Slinger; Cody Horlacher, Mukwonago; Jesse James, Altoona; Scott Krug, Nekoosa; Bob Kulp, Stratford; Gae Magnafici, Dresser; Dave Murphy, Greenville; Ron Tusler, Harrison; Chuck Wichgers, Muskego; Shannon Zimmerman, River Falls; and James Edming, Glen Flora.


Education
A new way to protect and serve: Viterbo overhauls criminal justice program, with focus on community ties

Andrew Kyle has always been the kind of person who can talk and get along with anybody.

Then he began doing police work.

“In that capacity, it was just different. You’re working with people in a different way than just having a normal conversation with them,” said Kyle, a senior at Viterbo University and a volunteer patrol officer for the town of Campbell.

Kyle

Fisher

“I think I’ve gotten better at it, just through practice,” he said. “You’re dealing with people who are angry or upset, and you just have to be with them, work with them, and make sure they get the help they need.”

When it comes to people skills, Kyle and other aspiring police officers have gotten an assist from Viterbo’s criminal justice department, which recently overhauled its curriculum to focus on community-oriented policing.

The department even changed its name — to criminal and community justice — to reflect the new emphasis.

Marlene Fisher, the department chair, said the change is intended to both modernize the curriculum and boost enrollment at a time when fewer students are pursuing careers in criminal justice.

It turns out that a focus on community-oriented policing not only puts students in the seats — it makes life easier for civilians and officers alike.

“It definitely builds more trust, having officers out there in the community,” Fisher said. That trust leads to more positive interactions between residents and police, “and it helps officers find solutions or find criminals when people feel comfortable talking to them.”

Anderson

Ryan Anderson, a professor in the program, said he’s finding all sorts of ways to get students into the community, from class trips to social service agencies, to assignments in which students create podcasts on social issues.

On top of that, the students have been gaining experience through internships. While many intern locally, some have found niches in much larger agencies: the drug division with the Chicago Police Department and the homicide division with the Las Vegas Police Department.

“There’s a lot of distrust in the community toward the police,” Anderson said. “There needs to be an emphasis on working with the community, being a part of the community, rather than treating them all like suspects.”

Both Anderson and Fisher noted that community-oriented policing makes financial sense.

Today, there are four times as many people in prison as there were in 1980, and many of them are nonviolent offenders.

Incarceration is a financial drain for a number of reasons: It costs $100 a day to accommodate a federal inmate, according to the Federal Register, and each person who enters the prison population represents one fewer person in the civilian workforce.

“There are a lot of things we can do rather than gobble people up, throw them in prison and make them disappear,” Anderson said. “A lot of times, police officers can take care of an issue before it becomes a big problem or turns into an actual crime. But you really need to integrate with the community.”

Many nonviolent offenders, Fisher added, would benefit from placements in treatment centers or other community alternatives to prison.

“Keeping them in the community and making sure they have those connections is just so important,” she said. “Instead of locking them up, we should be giving people a chance.”

In his work with the Campbell and La Crosse police departments, Kyle has seen the benefits of community-oriented policing firsthand.

Sometimes, it means building relationships with people before they’re ever questioned about a crime or infraction. And sometimes, he said, it means being patient with people when they’re angry or upset about the larger situation.

“It reminds me of something I heard a long time ago: As a police officer, you’re not dealing with people. You’re working with them,” Kyle said. “A lot of people say they became a police officer because they want to help people, and I think that’s the biggest thing for me. I want to make a difference in someone’s life.”

“Keeping (police) in the community and making sure they have those connections is just so important. Instead of locking them up, we should be giving people a chance.” Marlene Fisher, Viterbo department chair

“You’re dealing with people who are angry or upset, and you just have to be with them, work with them, and make sure they get the help they need.” Andrew Kyle, a senior at Viterbo and a volunteer patrol officer for the town of Campbell


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune 

Bangor firefighters work to put out a Monday morning fire.