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UWPlatteville hosts policing conference
Susan Rahr of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission was the keynote speaker. - photo by Photo by Andy McNeill

The Midwest Conference on 21st Century Policing: Implementing the President’s Task Force Recommendations drew an interested crowd of law enforcement personnel, community members, faculty, staff and students to UW–Platteville.

The event was held in UW–Platteville’s Ullsvik Hall Velzy Commons Wednesday. Susan Rahr, executive director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and appointee to President Barack Obama’s President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, was the keynote speaker. She is the architect of the cultural transformation of police training in the state of Washington. 

Her philosophy, which she spoke about at the conference, included “Training the Guardians of the Democracy.” It involves balancing the warrior approach with more of a guardian approach to law enforcement.

 “The crime rate is not out of control in the majority of cities around the country,” said Rahr. “We need to really think about putting equal weight to crime rates and public trust. It’s not a one-or-the-other proposition.” 

According to Rahr, the officer’s role in the community is defined as a guardian, with the skills and ability to switch into warrior mode in a split second, without hesitation or apology. 

The conference included responses from UW–Platteville professors as well as additional guest speakers, including Capt. Jim Mallery with the Kalamazoo Police Department in Kalamazoo, Mich. 

“It is important for police to reflect, redact and return; reflect on the past, redact what doesn’t work and return to roots of our profession,” he said. 

The free event was sponsored by the UW–Platteville Department of Criminal Justice and co-sponsored by the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ethnic Studies Program.