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Chief Gauthier Says Rhinelander Police Trained For Protests, Public


Rhinelander Chief of Police Lloyd Gauthier says his officers are fully trained to handle situations like a protest. A recent demonstration at the courthouse following the death of George Floyd was without incident.

Gauthier was asked by the Common Council Monday evening to discuss what training the department has to deal with these types of situations. He says officers need 720 hours of training, including 8 hours with ethics and more training on culture to better serve the community...

"You have your own biases and you have to recognize them and how do you and how do you control that when you're a law enforcement officer serving an protecting the community where your personal beliefs might be a challenge to what you're doing. That has to be put aside..."

Chief Gauthier says they train every year on use of force. He says every officer takes a written test on the use of force policy that adheres to state law and current procedures. He says law enforcement is also getting additional training in areas like mental health and medical emergencies, he says often a police officer is the first person on the scene.

He says they also have a strict policy on discrimination...

"The Rhinelander Police Department has a policy that prohibits racial decision making..."

Chief Gauthier says anytime a use of force was required it must be reported. He says choke holds are not used in Wisconsin.

Gauthier says Wisconsin has been a leading state concerning police-involved deaths. He says the lead investigator can't work for the agency involved. He says always a factor in law enforcement is the human element making it important that supervision and accountability be core to operations.