Proposed state law would decertify police officers who quit while under investigation

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee state representative wants police officers who quite while under investigation to automatically lose their law enforcement certification.

That would prevent officers from jumping to a new job and short circuiting investigations.

The bill is directly related to former Wauwatosa Officer Joseph Mensah.

Mensah resigned from his job in Wauwatosa and took a new job with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office.

That ended a Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission inquiry.

Under this proposed law, resigning while under investigation would prevent an officer from getting hired unless their new job's police and fire commission specifically approved it.

"We need to make sure that if somebody does violate a use of force policy or any other policy, that they aren't able to be shuffled to another department," said State Representative Moore Omokunde. (D-Milwaukee)

He points to former officer, now deputy, Joseph Mensah as an example.

"If you come to my town and you're coming from a town and you killed three people in a five-year period, I want to know what happened," said Moore Omokunde.

His bill would require the police and fire commission to waive an officer's decertification, giving the community a chance to weight in. But the Wisconsin Fraternal Order of Police said this bill is not needed.

"When I read the language in the bill, it is a solution to a problem that isn't even there," said Wisconsin FOP President Ryan Windorff.

He said departments already vet incoming applicants. There's a law enforcement standards board to police certifications. He said the FOP supports changes to make hiring decisions more transparent.

"We support the elimination of non-disclosure agreements for an officer who separates from an agency, we want there to be full disclosure if an officer is leaving one agency and going to another," said Windorff.

Wauwatosa Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair Sean Lowe thinks the bill has merit. He said shuffling officers should be stopped.

"That defeats the purpose of good quality community policing, not just in the city of Wauwatosa, or the city of Milwaukee, but across this nation," said Lowe.

Moore Omokunde is still gathering co-sponsors to push the bill forward.

It's far from becoming a law at this point.

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