The City of Sun Prairie, Sun Prairie Police Department, and Sun Prairie Area School District issued a joint statement about the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Department officer:

The death of George Floyd continues to haunt us. Anyone who watched that painful video will never forget it. If this is what happens in 2020 with the abundance of technology, imagine what has, and does continue, to happen when the phones and cameras are not recording. Change is needed. And it is needed now.

As leaders within Sun Prairie, we are united in working collaboratively to ensure the City of Sun Prairie and our schools are safe, inclusive, welcoming, and loving. Here are specific actions the City, Police Department, and School District are taking:

City of Sun Prairie

This is a time to listen to our communities of color like we never have before. By listening in a way that honors their time, priorities, networks and wisdom we will find innovative and authentic solutions to these centuries-old problems. This will be accompanied by our commitment to call out and dismantle systemic racism in our organization.

Our work to make Sun Prairie an inclusive, welcoming and safe place for all is an established and continuous commitment. The “Sun Prairie Plan to Restore the Right to Breathe” will span June, capitalizing on this catalyzing moment, and providing needed healing and dialogue space.

Sun Prairie Plan to Restore the Right to Breathe:

• No Stupid Questions Quorum, June 23, 6-7:30 p.m. — An ally workshop, dissecting systemic racism and providing space for uncomfortable questions.

• Community Self-Policing talk through, Ongoing — Working with communities to understand capacity and opportunities to empower community members in managing their own communities.

• Juneteenth Celebration, June 15-19 — A virtual weeklong celebration of Juneteenth in collaboration with community schools. Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation proclamation that ended American slavery.

• Restorative Dinner, June 25, 6-7:30 p.m. — A dinnertime music show interspersed with community discussion questions to bring the community together around solidarity and action moving forward.

• Launch of Equity Academy, Shortly after July 4 — An internal continuous training and personal reflection space for city staff that residents will be able to follow along with for their own personal development around equity

The Sun Prairie Plan to Restore the Right to Breathe: Changing unjust systems, bringing together disparate dialogues and giving space for healing will be available for viewing on KSUN.

All information as it is updated will be found at cityofsunprairie.com/civicsunprairie.

Sun Prairie’s efforts in this space are ongoing and those hoping to see all of Sun Prairie’s diversity, equity and inclusion work can do so here.

Here you’ll see the full gamut of our work to make our community inclusive and welcoming including our celebration of our diverse community through our multicultural fair that debuted last year, our diversity, equity and inclusion commitment statement used as a guide for our policy and practices, and how we have adjusted our hiring practices to take bias out of our processes among other efforts.

We are also currently in the process of auditing our internal policies and practice to better reflect our value of equity to better serve the public and create a culture where a diverse workforce thrives.

Sun Prairie Police Department

The Sun Prairie Police Department (SPPD) will participate and assist with all of the items listed in the citywide bullet points above including our Sun Prairie Restore the Right to Breathe initiatives.

Additionally,

• The Sun Prairie Police Department has been, and will continue to be focused on staff development including topics of diversity, inclusion, equity, procedural justice, and human bias. Numerous training programs have been provided to all employees during the past three years.

In addition to regular in-service training, we intend to incorporate this training into roll call sessions and career development programs for all members of our department.

• We will continue to ensure that all training envelops the sanctity of human life at the heart of everything our agency provides, including promptly rendering first aid. This includes our historical belief that every officer has a duty to intervene to prevent excessive force or any behavior outside our code of conduct and policing philosophy.

• The SPPD has two certified instructors that teach the Police Executive Research Forum’s de-escalation program that teaches officers to use distance, cover, time and verbalization skills in crisis situations.

This program includes lecture-based interactive training and scenario based training to place our officers into stressful situations to anchor the training modules.

• In addition to in-squad video, the Sun Prairie Police Department incorporated body-worn cameras in 2018 and conducts regular auditing and use of force reviews to insure professionalism and accountability.

• We intend to continue our citizen’s police academy, youth leadership academies and plan to create and participate in community events within our diverse neighborhoods.

• We believe it is important to hear from all of our diverse communities and will be planning inclusive community meetings organized in conjunction with community leaders such as the African American Parent Network and church groups. The goal of these meetings will be to act as listening sessions to learn and educate ourselves on steps the police department can take to better educate all of our sworn and non-sworn members.

• We will also continue to monitor and implement best practices to provide safety for everyone, such as the #8CantWait program. Our police department policy, training and philosophy aligns with all eight of the following recommendations. The eight recommended policies can increase safety and include:

• Bans on chokeholds and strangleholds;

• Mandatory de-escalation training;

• Require a warning prior to firing a weapon;

• Requirement to exhaust all alternatives before shooting;

• Requiring a duty to intervene;

• Ban shooting at moving vehicles;

• Require a use of force continuum;

• Require comprehensive use of force reporting.

• The SPPD is committed to constant improvement and ensuring that our use of force policies and training reflect national best practices and the values and philosophy of our community. We look forward to using multiple avenues to listen to our citizens and incorporate any changes that can enhance the safety of everyone in our community and grow our relationships.

Sun Prairie Area School District

The Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) has created The Sun Prairie Equity Framework to locate and dismantle policies, procedures, and behaviors that are racist and/or discriminatory.

Components of this framework include a Community-Based Vision, Board Governance focused on equity, a Strategic Approach to equity, Site Excellence, and Community Partnerships.

• The SPASD has been and will continue to be focused on staff development as a key area of focus in our equity work: Over 100 separate opportunities for equity focused staff development have been offered to staff over the last three years, and over 1,000 teachers, administrators, and staff have taken part in equity focused staff development.

• We believe that SPASD should reflect the cultures of our diverse community. Our district staff are currently comprised of nearly 15% staff members of color, and our internal Grow Your Own program continues to support future educators of color.

• The SPASD has adopted the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards which are embedded into K-12 Social Studies curriculum.

• All schools have specific teams of educators called Equity Teams trained in locating and dismantling policies, procedures, and behaviors that are racist and/or discriminatory.

• The SPASD and City of Sun Prairie partnership for Sun Prairie Community Schools continues to grow. Northside Elementary School was recently approved as a Community Schools site.

We are proud to call Sun Prairie our home but we know we all have work to do to make this community more safe, inclusive, welcoming, and loving. You have our commitment that we will work hard every day doing just that.

The statement is signed by:

Paul Esser, Mayor

Aaron Oppenheimer, City Administrator

Mary Polenske, City Council President

Mike Steffes, Chief of Police

Brad Saron, SPASD Superintendent

Steve Schroeder, Sun Prairie School Board President

(1) comment

armedsecurity@protonmail.com

I read this article and what I see is the same OLD ridiculous community pacifying and worthless WHITE "do gooder rhetoric" that takes place EVERY TIME a bad police officer viciously kills one of our citizens. Lots of fluffy touches, feel good dinners, boring mindless conferences, imaginary psychological trainings, etc. The article didn't even address the knee on the neck and back of George Floyd (the human you MURDERED) and the main cause of the original rioting! PEOPLE, if you don't address these issues "full on" with "extreme vigor" your cities and your lives are literally going to be in mortal danger soon! You will have an "all out" civil war on your hands! Police officers are committing MURDER in our midst! Believe me when I say that the persons of color among us have had it waiting for your extremely slow white Gluteus Maximus.

Here's a list to start with:

1. No knees on any citizens neck or back, in fact, no reason for any citizen to get on the ground AT ALL if cooperating in an arrest or search. RESPECT PEOPLE, does grandpa or grandma really need to get on the ground in the freezing muddy slushy water? I'm almost 70, am I really a threat to Mr. 200 pound, 27 year old, in great shape, police officer with a gun, give me a break on these horse apples.

2. Get rid of police unions immediately or at nearest contract renewal date AND put all police officers under city mayors for ultimate hiring and firing. Get rid of police commissioner double hires. They should be working for us in an "AS NEEDED" status so they can be fired for any reason without recourse (just like everyone else in the State of Wisconsin who isn't performing correctly).

3. Body cameras MUST be used and always on. IF a body camera is switched off or "accidentally broken suspiciously" the officer can be terminated WITHOUT RECOURSE.

4. Performance appraisals should be HARD CORE and VERY STRICT, weed out non-hackers ASAP.

5. A unpaid community board of 7 people "of color" should be established to follow all community complaints made by citizens against police officers, complaints should not go thru local police departments. These community boards should report monthly on officers conduct to the public at large.

6. Cut ALL police and fire pensions to a maximum of $53,000.00 a year and tie them to federal pensions for soldiers. Pensions are currently nearly double what a disabled combat veteran gets annually...why? Soldiers are in significantly more combat danger, don't go home at night like police officers and drink beer in most cases, and suffer more of every kind of injury and ailment. Pensions are too high reduce them immediately. In fact, reduce all pensions for all politicians, state and local jobs, to reflect the same rates of $53,000.00 annually.

7. Make a new law for the general public that any DWI or driving w/o insurance or valid license person shall have their car immediately impounded and sold if caught violating these laws a second time. For a 2nd offense the driver gets a full year on a local chain gang picking up trash in the ditches (to clean up our state). I watch the papers, we arrest the same group of losers 20 times over burdening our police force and costing us all money so law breakers can laugh and do it again tomorrow. When you pick up trash in a ditch filled with slush and snow believe me that s$%^^ grin will come off a law breakers face. If they run from the duty, they get 5 years in the state prison, after which they return to the ditch to finish out their year.

8. Talk honestly and privately with the police officers about what can be done to make their jobs easier, safer, more effective, and fulfilling. Talk to their spouses separately and with great compassion.

9. No police officer may hold a second job in the community. Many of these officers work 16 hours a day, is it a wonder that they are grumpy and irate when they report for duty. One job as a police officer is extremely taxing (just like a soldier) its more than enough. Mr. Floyd's killer had been working for 16 years in a club at night. Do you think that just maybe he was over tired everyday at work? Do you think that he was burned out with low life scum? Saturday work would be allowed, but not Sundays, officers need family and God time to remain whole as human beings. If they don't believe in God they use all their Sunday time for family not work.

LAST, I am not a person of color. I am a white disabled U.S. paratrooper and a Republican. If you killed one of my family members like you did Mr. Floyd, you'd have a whole lot more on your hands than a few broken windows and looted shops. This problem can be fixed easily, fix it.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.