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George Floyd’s impact on Wausau one year later

Published: May. 25, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The death of George Floyd sparked rallies, protests, marches all across the United States in May of 2020. Wausau was no different. On June 6th the city held the largest March it has ever seen.

“I think it shows that people care about racial issues and they want to be a part of the solution,” Wausau resident and march organizer Kayley McColley said.

Floyd’s death also sparked discussion between many cities and their local police departments.

“Chief Bliven has really mentioned to me that he wants the Wausau Police department to be a department that other departments can model after,” McColley said.

On August 12 2020, the City of Wausau Common Council approved a policing task force. A group of community members and other individuals who would evaluate the policing measures for the Wausau PD. Wausau Police Chief Bliven says the group still receives backlash from some of the PD members.

“I think there is still a split in the community even in our department if the task force is even necessary,” Chief Bliven said.

Despite what some think, the Chief puts a considerable amount of time and effort into the task force. Using it as an opportunity to show that Wausau PD’s measures are up to date and widely used.

“An opportunity to educate our community, especially the task force about how we go about our work and why those policies are in place,” Chief Bliven said.

“I definitely get the sense we are working towards a common goal,” McColley said.

The line between a Police Department and some communities might be strained, or completely severed. In Wausau, it’s a work in progress. The goal is to make relationships now to fight tomorrow’s problems.

“We can build relationships, build the partnerships today, to solve problems we might see 10 years from now,” Chief Bliven said.

“So that we can better serve not only minorities in this community but the community at large,” McColley said.

McColley is holding some other events coming up to help promote Black History. The Juneteenth freedom celebration at Whitewater Music hall on June 19th is the next event happening. If you would like more information you can email her here: kayleymccolley3500@gmail.com.

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