Germantown, Menomonee Falls Police Chiefs react to police brutality, community support

July 18, 2016

Village of Germantown — In light of police shootings across the country this month, Menomonee Falls Police Chief Anna Ruzinski and Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell shared their perspectives on these events, and responses within their communities to the national shootings.

In Germantown, Hoell said more than 200 'We Support our Police' signs were purchased at the station last week. The Citizens Police Academy alumni first made the signs last year.

Hoell said while the community has been largely positive, negativity persists.

"There has been a lot of cop hatred before that (the Dallas shooting) even," Hoells said. "People that are arrested obviously are not happy with us — most are not happy with us, and so they'll say negative things toward the officers, but that hasn't changed. That has always been like that. We'll get a few nasty messages on our Facebook page."

Ruzinski emphasized the positivity that has been spread from the community into the Menomonee Falls Police Department in the aftermath of the Dallas shooting, particularly.

"I think there is a mutual respect between our citizens and our officers," Ruzinski said. "That clearly was shown this past week with the outpouring of support that we received from the citizens, whether that came in the form of voice mails, emails, cards, letters and treats that have been brought in for the officers. It's just been overwhelming, and very, very much appreciated."

Ruzinski shared a story of an African American couple that came up to an officer at a car wash and thanked him for his service. Ruzinski hopes this show of support will help the nation heal.

"We all have friends or relatives that are of different ethnicities, different races, and we embrace that," Ruzinski said. "To us, people are people. This woman at the car wash wanted to show her support so much that she gave the officer a hug. It's very heartfelt. I think people showing their support and wanting to end the violence is what is going to help us heal, and hopefully not only in our surrounding communities, but across the nation."

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