Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker, shown at his 2015 State of the State address in January, said Wednesday that Wisconsin benefits from having a law requiring independent reviews of police-involved shootings.


MILWAUKEE — Training of police officers should be scrutinized in the wake of recent police-related deaths in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday.

Walker’s remarks came in a press conference after he spoke at a business event downtown.

The debate on police use of force, particularly in black communities, gained national attention following unrest in Ferguson last year.

It came to Madison last month when 19-year-old Tony Robinson, who was black, was shot and killed by a white police officer.

In recent days, riots erupted in Baltimore after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died after being transported in a police van.

Walker is a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Asked Wednesday about the events in Baltimore and Ferguson, he said there’s “very legitimate concern” with police standards in some communities.

“What every community has got to look at is, how adequately trained are law enforcement professionals?” Walker said. “You’ve got to make sure there’s not just initial training.

“There needs to be ongoing training and vigilance to that, to make sure every law enforcement professional — whether it’s in Milwaukee or anywhere else around the state or around the country — is living up to the expectations of what proper law enforcement training tells people.”

Walker emphasized his revulsion at the recent death of a South Carolina man, Walter Scott.

Scott, who was black, was shot from behind and killed by a white police officer who pulled him over in a traffic stop.

The officer, Michael Slager, has since been charged with murder.

Citing the Madison police shooting, Walker said Wisconsin benefits from a state law requiring independent investigations of officer-related deaths.

Walker hasn’t formally announced a presidential bid but he’s widely regarded as a lock to enter the race.

Recent polls showed Walker leading the GOP field in early presidential states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.


Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.