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Listening to the community: Ashland’s Police Task Force holds forum to hear community thoughts on policing

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ASHLAND, WI -- Ashland's Police Task Force held its final public meeting of 2021 on Wednesday.

The task force was assembled last year after the murder of George Floyd to help address racial injustice in the community.

"The community was ready to have some conversations about it, so the mayor of Ashland asked a group of folks to come together to help lead in conversations with the Ashland Police Department," said Stacy Craig, one of the co-facilitators of the group.

Their goal is to open dialogues between police officers and marginalized community members by listening to their experiences.

Ashland County Board member Laura Nagro, who has attended many of the group's meetings, said they hope to create a safe and honest forum where people can talk about racial injustices they've experienced.

"We're here to ask the community what issues they've had, things they've seen, and what they think the solutions are to those issues," said Nagro.

Craig said it's been a slow process, but they've tried their best to create a safe space for all members of the community, no matter their background

"We've heard a variety of different stories and testimonies, but we understand that trust needs to be built from the ground up," she said.

Nagro added their ultimate goal is to bridge the wide gap between the police and some of the marginalized communities in Ashland.

"We're trying to find that place in the middle where everybody meets and can find a good solution," she said.

Members of the Ashland PD were unable to attend Wednesday nights meeting, but they've been represented at every other public forum meeting.

The task force will take the feedback it receives from the public forums and use it to form a sort of action plan, which it will present to the city council in the coming months.

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Quinn Gorham

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