This article is part four of a series on legislation to create snitch houses, also known as “COP houses” across Wisconsin.
While advocating for snitch houses, senator Taylor made backroom deals with the republican establishment. She says she’s looking for community houses that provide wrap-around services, but what’s actually happening is police are taking control of resources and services, while expanding their role in society.
In early May, SB124 and AB258 were amended to remove the appropriation of grant funding, expand eligibility requirements to include smaller cities, and add a few usage specifications. Kelda Roys was the sole vote against this amendment in the senate committee, but she ultimately ended up voting in favor of the bill. During the May 18 assembly committee hearing, Mark Spreitzer asked the senators, “why [they] took the money out of the bill […] is it going to be a two year thing, or ongoing?
This article is part three in our series on legislation to create snitch houses, also known as “COP houses” across Wisconsin.
In the last article we showed how putting a snitch house in a targeted area reduces crime in that specific area, but increases economic and emotional strain for targeted residents. People experiencing stress are more likely to resort to crime, they just go somewhere further from police presence to do it.
At the May 18 hearing, committee member Sue S Conley, a democrat whose district borders zigzag tightly around Janesville, making the neighboring districts more solidly republican, recognized this dynamic. “You come into a neighborhood,” she said, “you establish the house […] did the problem just shift to another neighborhood?” Van Wanggaard’s response was a gleeful “sometimes,” but Taylor cut him off with a more diplomatic response that acknowledged the real problem. She went onto a tangent about drug dealers operating out of their cars rather than drug houses to be more mobile. Her statement reinforced, rather than allaying, Conley’s concern. Then Wanggaard burst back in with a great real-life example.
This is part two of our series on the legislation to create snitch houses, also known as “COP houses” across Wisconsin.
At the May 18 hearing, senator Van Wanggaard introduced the snitch house bill by portraying it as an attempt at police reform. “The police cannot be an occupying force in an area,” he emphatically stated. But, throughout his testimony, when describing how snitch houses work, his reformist mask slipped. He described police using snitch houses to “take over” and “gain control” of areas, exactly as an occupying force would. The reality that he, a former cop, cannot grapple with, is that police are always an occupying force in the neighborhoods they target. The houses AB258 seeks to fund are simply the first bulwarks of this occupation.
Senator Taylor joined in, describing the impact snitch houses have on the areas they target, but she relied heavily on some questionable statistics. She repeatedly cited a story about “20% of people causing 80% of the chaos.” If you look up this stat, the first thing you’ll likely find is quotes from pop-economist Malcolm Gladwell, a sure sign that it’s dubious and exaggerated. Digging deeper, we found the actual source, a study from Duke University where researchers were looking to prove the “Pareto Principle,” a quirky theory that the 20/80 rule applies to many aspects of life and social phenomenon.
During the May 18 public hearing on the Snitch House bill (SB124/AB258 also known as COP house bill) Lena Taylor and Van Wanggaard revealed that their co-authored, pro-cop legislation is everything we fear, and worse. We already have a long article detailing snitch houses (bootlickers call them COP houses) but, the more we learn and reflect on supporter’s statements at the hearings, the more we have to say.
There is so much to unpack from Taylor and Wanggaard’s introduction that we are going to put out a three part series, starting this week. The bill gets its first assembly committee vote on Wednesday, June 2. Please call or email the democratic members of the committee before Wednesday!
Two days after the one year anniversary of his murder and on the eve of the anniversary of Minneapolis’ third precinct going up in flames, the government of Wisconsin has little interest in meeting the simple demands of the people. By refusing to institute real accountability measures for police, they are spitting on the grave of George Floyd.
There’s a bill working its way through the state legislature that will give police $600,000 to establish snitch houses in many Wisconsin cities. A snitch house, also called a COP or “community oriented policing” house, is a small police department that looks like a house and provides “wraparound services” like after-school programming to the neighboring community in exchange for improved community and police relations. By “improved relations,” they mean snitching.
Now the assembly version of the bill, AB258, is coming up for a hearing in Madison on Tuesday May 18 alongside the assembly version of SB119, the notorious “fund the police” bill. SB119 is an empty republican provocation with zero bipartisan support. Governor Evers will certainly veto it. The snitch house grant is a bigger threat because, without intervention, it will actually become law.
“Assembly Bill 258 is ramming its way through with the support of Representatives Spiros, Armstrong, Brantjen, and Ortiz-Velez. This bill sucks cuz it gives the cops more of the money than they already have to do stupid shit that also sucks. So if these are your representatives you should call them and tell them this bill sucks, and that they suck and that they owe you money for wasting your own time with this phone call.
That’s the article, see you next time!”
Well that was the article I had written, but we sent it to our editors at the Abolitionist Archives HQ and they sent it back to tell us we should include more information and a better detailed plan of action. So let’s see what we can do with that bit of feedback!
Assembly Bill 258 is the Assembly version of the Senate Bill 124 (Which we talk about here) The one about COP, or Community Oriented Policing, houses. From what we can tell from a few minutes of Googling it seems like this idea exists in its current form based on a program the City of Racine started in the 90’s. The first house was named after Thelma Orr, a lady who made it her business to turn neighborhood kids against each other by recruiting them to join the fuzz. Continue reading “Funds for Fires: the COP House Grant Bill”
State Senator Lena Taylor is a polarizing figure in our community, and not in the sense that every politician in our country is polarized along party lines. Surely Republicans don’t like her (although after Thursday she may be looking to change this) but an increasing swath of Milwaukee’s “left” has a fair share of issues with her as well. But she does have her fans – I can recall several public calls to see her likeness muralized after showing up to a few marches during the 2020 uprising.
On Thursday March 18th at 10am at UWM’s Fireside Lounge State Senator Lena Taylor along with Committee Chair Van Wanggaard and some other boring republicans held a get together with their cop friends, where they all got paid to whine for 3 hours about how hard their jobs are, before spending their last hour at worst dismissing public feedback, and at best outright ignoring it. For their part, the two delegates from the city had some pushback on SB117.
Lena Taylor has teamed up with Van Wanggaard and some other death cult Republicans to sell a handful of “reform” bills that empower, fund, and legitimize the police. Oh, and there’s one that says cops shouldn’t rape the people they kidnap.
The rest of these are trash.
The public hearing on these bills will be, unexpectedly in Milwaukee at the UWM Fireside lounge on Thursday March 18th, at 10AM. Spending time in a room full of cops and gross anti-masking politicians is probably a bad idea, but anyone who wants to risk it, here’s the information.
Or, you can contact Senator Lena Taylor and tell her to withdraw support from the bills, especially SB117 and SB 124: Sen.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov 414-342-7176
In the meantime, we looked through Lena’s trash bills so you won’t have to. Here they are in order from “totally fucked” to “wait, how is that not already a law?”