In the name of justice: Independent Police Investigations

State bill to change police investigations
In the name of justice: Independent Police Investigations

In the name of justice: Independent Police InvestigationsThe shooting death earlier this year of nineteen-year-old Tony Robinson by a Madison police officer–an incident that drew national attention–was handled under a relatively new state law that requires an outside agency to lead the investigation of an officer-involved death. The two Wisconsin legislators who co-authored the bill were Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and then-Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay. Taylor is an attorney and Bies is a former deputy sheriff. The two public servants brought their combined knowledge of law, law enforcement and the criminal justice system to help develop a more fair and just procedure in these types of cases.

Taylor says that in addition to the requirement about outside investigators leading the probe, the bill–which passed unanimously in both chambers of the state Legislature and became Act 348 in 2013–also states that the information in those reports be released to the public, and that the victim’s family members be given information about their legal options.

In the name of justice: Independent Police Investigations“This is about giving the families of victims in these situations … the assurance that everything was looked at and that the conclusion was accurate–and that they would draw some peace of mind from that,” Bies says.

What is social innovation?

According to Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review, social innovation is a “novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions” and benefits primarily society as a whole rather than private individuals.

It includes these elements:

Increasing employment, productivity and economic growth

Justice, fairness, environmental preservation, improved health, arts and culture and better education

A social innovation:

Can be a product, production process or technology (much like innovation in general), but it can also be a principle, an idea, a piece of legislation, a social movement, an intervention or some combination of them.

Recognizes the fundamental role of cross-sector dynamics: exchanging ideas and values, shifting roles and relationships and blending public, philanthropic and private resources. Innovation blossoms where the sectors converge.

Can’t be understood, let alone solved, without involving the nonprofit, public and private sectors.

The M List
Madison Magazine‘s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its third year, the M List recognizes those making strides in the area of social innovation. Last year’s list of innovators were in the food industry. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.

Click here to return to the 2015 M List.