Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Neenah Police Department Accredited?
Yes, the Neenah Police Department became accredited in February of 2019. There are over 500 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin, and the Neenah Police Department is one of only 42 accredited police departments in the state (as of June 2020).
Accreditation is a process whereby an agency is evaluated on the existence of its compliance with prescribed professional standards. The Neenah Police Department was found to be in compliance of all 210 applicable standards, and there were no standards found not in compliance. This process takes several years to complete and has many benefits to both the City and the citizens.
Does the Neenah Police Department have policies in place?
Yes. Click here to view our policies.
Does the Neenah Police Department have body cameras?
Yes, we do. We also have video cameras in our squad cars.
Are the Neenah Police officers required to turn them on?
Yes, they are, per Policy 417.5.1. This policy states the following:
417.5.1 REQUIRED ACTIVATION OF THE MAV AND BWC – This policy is not intended to describe every possible situation that should be recorded. As a general rule, officers should activate the BWC (Body Worn Camera)/MAV (Mobile Audio Video) to record all contacts with citizens in the performance of official duties. Additionally, an officer should activate a recording system any time the officer believes it would be helpful to document an incident.
In some circumstances it is not possible to capture images of the incident due to conditions or the location of the camera. However, the audio portion can still be valuable evidence. Officers should consider using the cameras to capture audio information in those cases.
As a general rule, officers should activate their camera PRIOR to arriving on scene.
MAV and BWC systems should be used during official police operations in the following types of contact:
- Interviews with complainants, witnesses, and suspects in criminal cases
- Traffic contacts (with both MAV and BWC)
- Pedestrian contacts
- Contacts with subjects who are complaining about officer behavior or department response
- When counting or inventorying money or other valuables
- When collecting contraband
Does the Neenah Police Department recognize bias-based policing?
Not only does the Neenah Police Department recognize this, we have a policy on it: Policy 400.
Will the Neenah Police Department continue to train their officers in implicit bias training?
Every officer has completed an online training course called Uncovering Implicit Bias, described as follows:
The course uncovers implicit bias, which encourages employees to reconsider their preconceptions and recognize personal biases, looking inward to provide the officers an opportunity to adjust their perspective and relationships. This course also teaches employees what implicit bias is, helps them understand what its effects are in the workplace, and provides strategies for combating & dislodging implicit bias in hiring and decision-making.
Chief Olson is also meeting with an instructor who might be hired to teach our officers further on this topic.
Do the officers in Neenah and in the state of Wisconsin have qualified immunity?
Yes. Here is a statement from the International Association of Chiefs of Police:
As police executives, community members, and elected officials seek to transform the policing profession, there are several areas of agreement where the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) believes we can and should work in unison to recommend and develop meaningful solutions. This includes, but is not limited to, use-of-force policies, training and education standards, early warning systems, disciplinary procedures, and hiring practices.
However, the IACP is gravely concerned by and fervently opposed to efforts to change the qualified immunity protections for police officers. Qualified immunity is a foundational protection for the policing profession and any modification to this legal standard will have a devastating impact on the police’s ability to fulfill its public safety mission.
What is qualified immunity? Qualified immunity provides police officers with protection from civil lawsuits so long as their conduct does not violate clearly established law or constitutional rights of which a reasonable officer would have known. Further, qualified immunity does not prevent individuals from recovering damages from police officers who knowingly violate an individual’s constitutional rights.
Qualified immunity is an essential part of policing and American jurisprudence. It allows police officers to respond to incidents without pause, make split-second decisions, and rely on the current state of the law in making those decisions. This protection is essential because it ensures officers that good faith actions, based on their understanding of the law at the time of the action, will not later be found to be unconstitutional. The loss of this protection would have a profoundly chilling effect on police officers and limit their ability and willingness to respond to critical incidents without hesitation.
Calls to limit, reduce, or eliminate qualified immunity do not represent a constructive path forward. In fact, these efforts would most certainly have a far-reaching, deleterious effect on the policing profession’s ability to serve and protect communities.
Does the Neenah Police Department have a Use of Force policy?
Yes, the Neenah Police Department has a Use of Force policy that is very comprehensive and meets all of the state and federal guidelines, along with accreditation guidelines. Click here to view the policy.
Does the Use of Force policy have a duty to intercede section?
Yes, Policy 300.2.1 states the following:
300.2.1 DUTY TO INTERCEDE AND REPORT – Any officer present and observing another law enforcement officer or a member using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. Any officer who observes another law enforcement officer or a member use force that is potentially beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances should report these observations to a supervisor as soon as feasible.
Does the Neenah Police Department train their officers to use choke holds and is this in the Use of Force policy?
No, the Neenah Police Department does not train our officers to use chokeholds; however, if a suspect’s behavior has caused or imminently threatens to cause death or great bodily harm to a citizen or an officer, the use of deadly force is justified in the following circumstances:
- An officer may use deadly force to protect him/herself or others from what he/she reasonably believes would be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.
- An officer may use deadly force to stop a fleeing subject when the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to any other person if the subject is not immediately apprehended. Under such circumstances, a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force, where feasible. Imminent Threat Criteria: Weapon, Intent, & Delivery System. Imminent does not mean immediate or instantaneous. An imminent danger may exist even if the suspect is not at that very moment pointing a weapon at someone. For example, an imminent danger may exist if an officer reasonably believes any of the following:
- The person has a weapon, or is attempting to access one (WEAPON).
- It is reasonable to believe the person intends to use it against the officer or another (INTENT).
- The person is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury (DELIVERY SYSTEM).
A person is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death without a weapon and if it is reasonable to believe the person intends to do so, deadly force would be justified as well. With this outlined, if an extreme circumstance occurs where the last resort is a choke hold, it could be a justifiable last resort for an officer to use a chokehold.
Does the Neenah Police Department have a policy for shooting at or from moving vehicles?
Yes, Policy 300.4.1 states the following:
SHOOTING AT OR FROM MOVING VEHICLES – Shots fired at or from a moving vehicle are rarely effective. Officers should move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others.
Officers should not shoot at any part of a vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle, except under extreme circumstances where stopping the vehicle is necessary to protect life.
Will the Neenah Police Department implement the #8CantWait procedures that are being campaigned by multiple political parties?
Click here to view Chief Olson’s responses.
What is the State of Wisconsin training our officers in the subject of Use of Force?
The Wisconsin Chiefs of Police, Badger Sheriffs’ Association, and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Associations wrote the following response, which is a direct quote. Click here to view their response.
Does the Neenah Police Department have an armored vehicle?
Yes, the Department has a Caiman Rescue Vehicle, also known as an MRAP, which is an acronym for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected. This vehicle was made by BAE Systems and was obtained in May of 2014 from the Federal Government’s 1033 Program. Prior to this vehicle, the Department had a 1979 Peacekeeper, which was obtained in 2000. In 2013, the Peacekeeper was 34 years old and was getting expensive to maintain. In the final years of service, it cost approximately $5,300.00 for maintenance. It was at that point the Department began researching a replacement.
How did the Department acquire the Caiman Rescue Vehicle?
Since civilian armored vehicles cost between $200,000.00 and $1,000,000.00, based on upgrades and extra components, the Department wanted to be financially responsible, so the vehicle was obtained through the Federal Government’s 1033 program.
Is the Caiman Rescue Vehicle a tank?
No, tanks are vehicles that have a main weapon system and are essentially platforms for weapons. The Caiman Rescue Vehicle has no weapons and is basically an armored vehicle similar to a bank’s armored car used for protecting money, except the Caiman protects people.
What is the purpose of the Neenah Police Department having a Caiman Rescue Vehicle?
The vehicle can be used to protect officers and civilians during critical incidents in which lives are in danger. It can also be deployed for manmade or natural disasters and to assist in community events.
How many times has the Caiman Rescue Vehicle been used?
Excluding training and maintenance, the vehicle has been used on 30 deployments from May 2014 to July 2020. These deployments were for critical incidents. Of the 30 deployments, 12 were assisting other agencies.
How much did the vehicle cost?
The Department paid $1,500.00 for the Caiman Rescue Vehicle. The actual base price for the Caiman was $733,000.00. Since this vehicle was located in Sealy, Texas, two local organizations paid for and donated the cost of the transport, which was $4,600.00, to the City of Neenah.
Once the Department obtained the Caiman Rescue Vehicle, how much did it cost to convert it to the agency’s requirements?
The Department used $4,711.00 for various conversions and updates. This came out of the Department’s Vehicle Maintenance budget. In addition, the Department used $11,713.00 from the SWAT fund, which consists of donations and is NOT taxpayer-funded. This money went to emergency lights, painting the vehicle, adding graphics, and more.
What are the maintenance costs for the Caiman Rescue Vehicle?
Since May 2014 to July 2020, the maintenance cost was $1,846.16. Of this, $1,408.00 was for labor costs from our City Garage, and $438.16 was for parts, oil, filters, grease, etc. These costs average approximately $307.69 per year. Major parts can be obtained from the 1033 Program, saving the taxpayers money.
How much gas does the Caiman Rescue Vehicle use?
From May 2014 to July 2020, the vehicle used 500.5 gallons, costing $1,157.87 or $193.00 per year.
What is the 1033 Program?
This is a Federal Government program through the Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) that began in 1996. It transfers excess military items to law enforcement agencies. One of the leading positive factors is the high cost savings to the taxpayers of the local jurisdictions that obtain these items.
What equipment does the 1033 Program give out?
The program gives various items and equipment from the military. These can be vehicles, first aid kits, backpacks, tents, tools, generators, computers, binoculars, cameras, helicopters, ATVs, boats, office equipment, and more.
In the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal years 1990 and 1991, Congress authorized the transfer of excess DoD property to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Congress later passed the NDAA for fiscal year 1997, which allows law enforcement agencies to acquire property for bona fide law enforcement purposes – particularly those associated with counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities. The program has been named in the press and elsewhere as the “1033 Program,” which refers to the numbered section of the 1997 NDAA that granted permanent authority to the Secretary of Defense to transfer defense material to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
What excess military items are NOT available through the 1033 Program?
DLA has determined that 133 federal stock classes of supply are prohibited for transfer to law enforcement agencies because of their tactical military characteristics.
Prohibited equipment includes the following: any aircraft, vessels or vehicles that inherently contain weaponry (e.g. tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, armed drones); crew served/large caliber (.50 caliber or greater) weapons and ammunition; military uniforms; body armor; Kevlar helmets; and explosives or pyrotechnics of any kind. Also, aircraft and vehicles available in the program are “demilitarized,” meaning that any specific military technology (e.g. communication equipment) are removed prior to transfer to law enforcement agencies.
How many law enforcement agencies are currently participating in the 1033 Program?
As of June 2020, there are around 8,200 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from 49 states and four U.S. territories participating in the program. A law enforcement agency is defined as a government agency whose primary function is the enforcement of applicable federal, state, and local laws and whose compensated law enforcement officers have the powers of arrest and apprehension.
How does a local police department participate in the 1033 Program?
The Governor-appointed state coordinators approve and certify law enforcement agencies in their state and work with agencies regarding program participation, to include the State Plan of Operations. Once in the program, a law enforcement agency is able to review online the available excess Department of Defense (DoD) inventory that is suitable for law enforcement and make requests for property through the state coordinator. Law enforcement agencies do not pay for the property but must pay for shipping the items as well as potential storage costs. All excess DoD property is shipped “as is” and the law enforcement agency is responsible for all costs associated with acquisition, maintenance, and costs to return the property when it is no longer needed.
What is the difference between “controlled” and “non-controlled” property in the 10-33 Program?
Controlled property: Consists of military items that are provided via a conditional transfer or “loan” basis where title remains with DoD/DLA. This includes items such as small arms/personal weapons, demilitarized vehicles and aircraft, and night vision equipment. This property always remains in the LESO property book because it still belongs to and is accountable to DoD. When a law enforcement agency no longer wants the controlled property, it must be returned to DLA’s LESO for proper disposition.
Non-controlled property (also called General Property): Consists of common items DLA would sell to the general public, such as office equipment, first aid kits/supplies, hand tools, sleeping bags, computers, and digital cameras. After one year, general property becomes the property of the law enforcement agency. It is no longer subject to the annual inventory requirements and is removed from the LESO database. This general property should be maintained and ultimately disposed of in accordance with provisions in state/territory and local laws that govern public property.
The vast majority of property issued to law enforcement agencies each year is non-controlled. In 2019 for example, 92% of property issued was non-controlled. Normally, small arms weapons make up about 5%, and less than 1% of property issued is tactical vehicles.
What controls or oversight does the 1033 Program have in place?
Program Compliance: As outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement with state coordinators, DLA uses three primary ways to maintain and ensure compliance with all program requirements and property accountability:
- Annual Inventory: The MOA requires each state/territory to complete a 100% certified annual inventory each fiscal year.
- Program Compliance Reviews (PCRs): DLA’s LESO conducts a biennial federal-level compliance review on participating states where LESO personnel physically visits the states and inventories property of selected law enforcement agencies.
- State Coordinator Reviews: On an annual basis, the state must conduct state-level compliance reviews of at least 5% of law enforcement agencies that have property obtained via the program.
- Suspensions due to non-compliance: If a state coordinator or law enforcement agency fails to comply with any terms of the MOA, federal statute, regulation, or State Plan of Operation (SPO), the state and/or law enforcement agency may be place on restricted or suspended status or may be terminated from the program.
- Restricted: A specified period of time in which a state/territory or law enforcement agency is restricted from receiving an item or commodity due to isolated issues with the identified commodity. Restricted status may also include restricting an agency from all controlled property. Restricted status is commonly used for agencies that have active consent decrees from the Department of Justice.
- Suspension: A specified period of time in which an entire state or law enforcement agency is prohibited from requesting or receiving additional property through the program.
- Termination: The removal of a state or law enforcement agency from participating in the program. The state coordinator and/or identified law enforcement agencies will transfer or turn in all controlled property previously received through the program at the expense of the state and/or the law enforcement agency.
- Local governing body oversight: As part of the application process, law enforcement agencies must receive approval from their relevant local governing body to request and obtain controlled property, which is required by 10 U.S. Code 2576a. Per the statute, law enforcement agencies must certify:
- They have obtained the authorization of the relevant local governing authority (city council, mayor, etc.).
- They have adopted publicly available protocols for the appropriate use of controlled property, the supervision of such use, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of such use, including auditing and accountability policies.
- Controlled-equipment training: In 2015, Congress amended 10 USC 2576a to make it clear that each individual agency acquiring controlled equipment is responsible for training its personnel in the proper use, maintenance and repair. The law requires each law enforcement agency to certify on an annual basis that it provides annual training to relevant personnel on the maintenance, sustainment and appropriate use of controlled property.
- Department of Justice coordination: DLA’s LESO coordinates with the Department of Justice (DoJ) to identify law enforcement agencies that are under DoJ investigation or under a consent decree. LESO uses DoJ data to validate authenticity and eligibility of law enforcement agencies and notifies DoJ on applications for enrollment in the program, on law enforcement agency suspensions/terminations, and on allocations of weapons, tactical vehicles, and aircraft.
- Transparency through public data base: DLA’s LESO maintains a public website page that links to a spreadsheet with the status of property issued to law enforcement agencies, listed by state. The spreadsheet serves as a quarterly snapshot of all LESO/1033 Program equipment currently under the control of a law enforcement agency.
- DLA = Defense Logistics Agency
- DoD = Department of Defense
- DoJ = Department of Justice
- LESO = Law Enforcement Support Office
- MOA = Memorandum of Agreement
- SPO = State Plan of Operation
- MRAP = Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected