WHITEWATER — The Whitewater Police Department has met the standards necessary with the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) for use-of-force and is eligible to receive grants for the next three years.

Beginning in 2021, DOJ discretionary grants will only be allocated to law enforcement agencies that meet certain standards from independent credentialing bodies.

To become certified and eligible, the law enforcement agencies have to provide proof that the department’s use of force policies are in line with all applicable federal, state and local laws.

“Our department’s use-of-force policy was reviewed by a Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group (WILEAG) assessor who determined that it adhered to all applicable federal, state and local laws, and confirmed that, along with other criteria, it prohibited the use of choke holds, except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law,” stated Whitewater Police Chief Aaron Raap.

WPD Deputy Chief Dan Meyer has worked with WILEAG over the years.

“WILEAG is the same credentialing organization that re-accredited WPD in 2018, finding the department to be in-line with industry standards and best practices,” said Meyer. “Accredited agencies are required to undergo a re-accreditation process every three years, and WPD will seek its seventh accreditation in 2021.”

The Whitewater Police Department received the following letter from WILEAG in regard to meeting eligibility requirements.

"Chief Aaron M. Raap,

"On behalf of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, this letter confirms we are certifying that the Whitewater Police Department meets certain eligibility requirements, set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice, for discretionary federal grants. The Whitewater Police Department is qualified to receive federal grants for three years from the date of this letter.

"Pursuant to Section 2 of the Presidential Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities, dated June 16, 2020, Executive Order No. 13929 (the “Executive Order on Safe Policing”), the U.S. Department of Justice’s discretionary grant funding is only available to state, local and university or college law enforcement agencies that have obtained (or are in the process of seeking) credentials certifying that they meet certain standards on use of force. The Executive Order on Safe Policing empowers the U.S. Attorney General to designate independent credentialing bodies — including the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group — to certify that a law enforcement agency meets the conditions of eligibility for federal grants.

"Following our review, we have determined that the Whitewater Police Department meets the mandatory conditions for certification. Accordingly, the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group will include your agency going forward within our database of certified law enforcement agencies. On or before Jan. 31 of each year, we will provide the name of each certified law enforcement agency to the Director of the COPS Office."

For more information regarding the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, citizens can email executive.director@wileag.info or write to: WILEAG, P.O. Box 528, Hartland, WI 53029.

A copy of the standards is available at the Whitewater Police Department. Citizens can contact Deputy Chief Dan Meyer at (262) 473-1371 for further information.

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