To Our Fitchburg Community,
Last week I watched in disbelief the video of George Floyd’s last moments and was extremely disturbed and saddened by what I saw. The actions of the former Minneapolis Police Officers in that video do not reflect the values of our Fitchburg community and the members of the Fitchburg Police Department who selflessly serve our community every day.
Our department has worked hard to continue building trust and relationships in all neighborhoods of our community. This incident undermines and unravels all of our efforts. I emphatically state the actions and inactions of the former officers are unacceptable.
Additionally, I support the statement released by the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association last week condemning the actions of the former officers.
The Fitchburg Police Department strives to hire people who reflect our community with a desire to serve, create a culture of respect for all, provide training and policies to guide us in carrying out our service, and assess the service we provide regularly. As we carry out our service to our community, we seek to provide it with fairness, respect, and compassion.
Placing a knee on a person’s neck is not consistent with our training at the Fitchburg Police Department nor tolerated. We seek to use communication skills, de-escalation tactics, and time and distance whenever we are able. In those instances where these are unsuccessful or unavailable and we must use force, this use of force receives a multi-layer assessment to ensure the force used was necessary and appropriate for the situation.
We will use this incident as an opportunity to reflect on our values of fairness, respect, and compassion and that our service continues to match those values. Undoubtedly, this incident will cause us to seek improvement where possible. We have an excellent team of people at the Fitchburg Police Department who serve with dedication and professionalism. This team will work tirelessly to rebuild the trust and relationships that were shattered last week and continue to hold ourselves at the Fitchburg Police Department to a high standard.
Fitchburg Police Chief