The Wausau Policing Task Force and the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) released a report on the third phase of the Wausau Policing Task Force Study. The study was created to gauge the community’s attitudes and perceptions towards the Wausau Police Department and policing in Wausau.
The report details findings from the third phase of the Wausau Policing Task Force Study, which consisted of focus groups with specific segments of the Wausau population, including employees of the Wausau Police Department.
The City of Wausau commissioned WIPPS Research Partners in 2021 to conduct the community-wide information gathering study. The first part of the three-phase study included a series of listening sessions and an online feedback form to allow residents the opportunity to share concerns, feedback, and support for policing in Wausau. The second phase consisted of a survey designed to assess perceptions, attitudes, and experiences with police in Wausau.
The third phase consisted interviews and focus groups with a total of 41 participants. The focus groups were designed to solicit perspectives and recommendations of residents from specific demographic categories. Some of these demographic groups were more likely to express a negative attitude towards Wausau police on average in comparison to other residents. These groups included younger residents (aged 16-30), residents with a history of mental health issues, residents who had interaction with the Wausau Police in the last year, non-heterosexual identifying residents, and people of color (Black, Hispanic/LatinX, Hmong, Native American).
Additionally, the third phase solicited the perspective and feedback of law enforcement officers in both supervisory and staff positions to understand their concerns and recommendations.
The WIPPS research partners studies and reports are independent from the report and recommendations of the Wausau Policing Task Force. A final report with recommendations will be released by the task force in the near future.