This is part two of my conversation with Janesville Police Chief David Moore, published in the Janesville Messenger.
What about the do-not-serve list? According to Janesville Police Chief David Moore, there are a lot of people who drink a lot of alcohol and utilize a lot of fire, police and ambulance services. The police department has asked bars and liquor establishments to not serve alcohol to those individuals. All individuals on the list were notified, as was the media. Every 90 days the list is re-examined and names are removed in exchange for the more restrained use of city services.
The idea for the list came from Office Joe McNally, who researched similar intiatives in Madison and Green Bay. With the help of Assistant Police Chief Dan Davis, the list was implemented in Janesville. “We’re challenging all our officers to be problem solvers, to look at those core issues,” Moore said. “And what can we as a police department do to resolve those core issues so we don’t have to go the same calls for service again and again. That’s the philosophy we have here in the police department. Be engaged in your community and be problem solvers.”
Officers continually are faced with new challenges, however, none has been so great recently as the new concealed carry law. Moore acknowledged that the law has been a big challenge for the department. Moore said that the laws’s implementation went rather well, and he credits the police officers for that. Whether or not it’s made Janesville safer, however, remains unclear. “I’m not seeing any evidence of that, but I can’t say that we aren’t either,” Moore said. In the past, if an officer encountered a weapon on a citizen, the officer knew there was a crime and there were procedures that were followed in order to protect the office and the public. Now it simply might be that the citizen is conducting legal business. It becomes much more difficult for the police officer to determine if there is a crime and the officer’s safety or other citizens’ safety is in danger.
Other than safety, Moore says his main concern with the concealed carry la is the secretive nature of the law. Wisconsin’s’ concealed carry law prohibits revealing information regarding license holders and applicants, according to a report by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. justice Department officials are forbidden, for example, from revealing whether those involved in crimes are licensed to carry.
“When a concealed carry person does something wrong in our community – and it has happened – I can’t comment on that publicly,” Moore said. “I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s American and I don’t think that’s how government should be. I’m much more transparent and open that what the concealed carry law requires.” For example, Moore cited an incident where a concealed carry permit holder committed suicide in public. According to Moore, there were significant mental issues in the person’s background and he still was able to qualify for a permit. Because of the law’s privacy provisions, the public would have no way of knowing. In another instance, there was a person who “shot up” a neighborhood – randomly firing shots in the air – and was a concealed carry permit holder. Moore says he was not able to comment on it.
“When you violate a law in your community with a weapon, your police should have the ability to share it with you community. Then the community can decide how we feel about that.” Moore said that his greatest challenge has been to continue to provide what he considers to be exemplary police service in tough economic times. “We were on the verge of losing the Fourth Ward and Look West to thugs and criminals,” Moore said. “and through hard work of neighborhood activists partnering with police, we made those neighborhoods safer and made the whole community safer.”