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Local police officers react to "Blue Lives Matter" billSubmitted: 07/12/2016
Story By Mary O'Connell

Local police officers react to
EAGLE RIVER - A Wisconsin lawmaker wants to pass a Blue Lives Matter bill after the deadly ambush on officers in Dallas last week. The bill would make certain crimes against law enforcement officers hate crimes. But some local officers think the bill might need to be reworked before it's passed.

Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay) wants to pass the Blue Lives Matter bill in the wake of the Dallas shooting. The bill would also apply to crimes against firefighters and EMS workers.

Some people criticized the bill, saying professions like law enforcement shouldn't be categorized with other protected groups such as racial or religious minorities. 

One Vilas County Sheriff's officer thinks the bill needs some work.

"It creates a divide," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain David Gardner. "I think all lives matter. [It] doesn't matter if it happens to be an officer or a bus driver or even a person out there that's protesting. We all matter."

Gardner says he hasn't seen officers targeted here in northern Wisconsin, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

He says seeing what happened in Dallas is hard to explain to those who don't wear the badge.

"This is one individual. It's not a group of people," said Gardner. "It's one individual that completed a heinous act. It's part of our job, we understand that, but it doesn't mean that we don't have feelings either."

Gardner thinks another bill might not be the answer either. He says making a law with harsher punishments might not stop a shooter from carrying out an attack.

"I don't think it's going to change his decision. Whether there's a law on the books or not, I think he'll do it anyway," said Gardner. "We need to look at how we can control that behavior. I think there's other avenues we can look to also."

To honor the people who died, the Vilas County Sheriff's officers are wearing their mourning badges.


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