With global protests arising from the death of George Floyd, more local governments are taking a look at their anti-racism and discimination policies.
Town of Dunn’s Board got an update on its current discrimination policies and several options it could add to its current policy. Those include adding a policy to the Employee Handbook, increasing funding for a community-based police officer and adding more training to town staff members.
Town clerk/treasurer and business manager Cathy Hasslinger said the town has a long history of developing a culture of respect and inclusiveness. She outlined ways the town can increase its anti-racism and discrmenation efforts.
Hasslinger said is increasing funding for community-based deputy work to come up with long term solutions for community problems like mental health concerns, substance abuse, domestic violence, elder care, disability care and behavioral concerns.
The town currently contracts with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement instead of using a town constable, with part of that agreement being ensuring professionalism, training and sufficient oversight.
“We have not had any complaints of excessive use of force or racism,” she said.
As part of the agreement, the DCSO provides a community-based deputy that has social work training to work on proactive and preventative issues in town.
Hasslinger said the community-based deputy assists with mental health issues, keeping neighborhoods safe from crime, working with youth, substance abuse and disabilities.
The town, she said, could add an anti-racism policy to the Employee Handbook, commission appointments, and some of the town’s contracts. It would clearly state that work shall always be conducted in a manner free from racism, or other biases.
Hasslinger said the town also could provide more training and information on how staff, board and commissioners can handle any inquiries about social justice concerns, as well as add avenues for complaints to be received.
“It is communicated in everything that we do, our discussions and our decisions, that there is no room for racism, bias, or favoritism in our decision making, our policies, or our actions,” Hasslinger said.