Green Bay council passes resolution in support of police
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay city council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Green Bay Police Department at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15.
District 8 Alder Chris Wery brought the request forward at the Sept. 3 Protection and Policy Committee meeting, where it received full support.
“Obviously, the main objective here was to get something in our hands to show our full support and respect for the police department,” Wery said.
Several alders voiced support for the resolution prior to the vote.
“In the past month, law enforcement officers have undergone, and likely will continue to undergo, intense scrutiny, some have been subject to harsh criticism,” said District 1 Alder Barbara Dorff. “What is often lost is that members of the Green Bay Police Department are members of our community. When police officers are only viewed through a social media lens, they can be seen as government soldiers, incapable of human emotion, making it easier to denounce the police. Social media has catapulted us into a new era of quick judgements regarding police and public interactions. I want you to know, Green Bay Police Department, that you have my trust in your ability to make good decisions and perform appropriate actions. As chair of the Finance Committee, I am pledging to the Green Bay Police Department that I will never support defunding our department.”
A former police officer, District 4 Alder Bill Galvin, echoed Dorff’s support.
“As politicians representing our constituency, our job is to try to support our citizens with resources in place to deal with every conceivable situation. By doing that, we are able to calm and reassure everyone in our community,” he said. “(Police officers) live a profession that everything they do, including in some cases, with only a split second to make a decision, is second-guessed, debated, critiqued and reviewed.”
Prior to the vote, District 3 Alder Lynn Gerlach proposed amendments to the resolution, which she said were meant to ensure inclusivity.
“I want to be very clear that I absolutely, 100 percent support the police department,” she said. “But, when I read the resolution, I just had a concern about having come through a very difficult summer and knowing that tensions are still running a little bit high. I wanted to make sure that we weren’t publicly throwing our support behind the police department without acknowledging some of the other members of the community who might see this as a binary choice. They might just feel that if you support the police publicly, you are not supporting me. If you respect this body, you might not be respecting me. And I know that that is not the intent, but I want to be very sure that we don’t set off alarms and create hard feelings that aren’t necessary.”
Gerlach said her changes were meant to acknowledge it’s the community the police serve, and community members should feel respected as well as the police.
All language change amendments were approved.
Future council topics
A request from District 9 Alder Brian Johnson regarding the possible purchase of the East Town Mall property at 2350 E. Mason Street is headed to committee following a referral from council at its Monday meeting.
The request will have to make it through the committee level before it’s brought before the full council.
A request from Dorff regarding social media etiquette by city elected officials is headed to the mayor’s office for review.
“Due to concerns regarding recent social media comments and practices by city elected officials, I’m requesting a mandatory training for all alders and elected officials, possibly held during a city council meeting, clearly delineating what is and is not appropriate use of social media by an elected official,” Dorff said.
Polling places relocations
Council authorized the relocation of a handful of polling sites for the upcoming November election.
Residents in Wards 6, 7, 9, 14, 22 and 23 will now vote at Bay Beach Amusement Park, 1212 Bay Beach Road.
And residents in Wards 25, 36, 37, 39 and 40 will now vote at the Johnsonville Tailgate Village, 1265 Lombardi Ave.