- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A Green Bay officer who was recorded throwing a man to the ground during an arrest has been cleared of wrongdoing, but police are using the experience as a teaching tool for its officers and new recruits.

Police acknowledge that better communication skills could have kept the April 19 incident from escalating, so the department will offer additional training in professional communication skills to all officers in the coming year, Press-Gazette Media (https://gbpg.net/1k69Q0K ) reported.

The department’s training officers will be sent to a three-day course on crowd control and then teach the course to the other officers.

The changes were prompted by Officer Derek Wicklund’s arrest of 29-year-old Joshua Wenzel, which was recorded on cellphone video and posted online.

The video starts with officers arresting another man for allegedly for leaving a bar with an open intoxicant. Wenzel swore at the officer, who shoved Wenzel against a car, took him to the ground and punched him twice.

A police investigation last week concluded that Wicklund didn’t use excessive force, but it also found that Wicklund and other officers could have handled the incident better. The investigation also recommended that Wicklund and Officer Tom Conley be given additional communications training.

At that point, the department decided to make the training available to all patrol officers, said police Capt. Bill Galvin, one of the four officers who conducted the investigation.

Police also had five officer trainees attend the new conference Tuesday where the results of the investigation were announced. Galvin said the experience would help them understand that the decisions they make on the job will be scrutinized by the people whose taxes pay their salaries.

Not everyone agrees that Wicklund and his fellow officers need more training. The Green Bay Professional Police Association, which represents about 160 officers and detectives, said Wicklund did his job properly.

“From the beginning, it was clear that Officer Wicklund’s actions were justified and reasonable,” union President Ryan Meader said in a statement.


Information from: Press-Gazette Media, https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com

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