GREEN BAY – Green Bay police have recommended extra training for Officer Derek Wicklund. Police announced Tuesday that an internal investigation determined Wicklund did not use excessive force during an arrest in April.
Police reviewed the arrest after it was recorded with a cell phone. The video went viral on social media.
After reviewing other videos and conducting interviews, Green Bay Police said Officer Wicklund would benefit from a training course on personal communication skills. The recommendation is described in an 80-page report.
“We feel that at times, Officer Wicklund did not maintain a professional demeanor and engaged in argumentative behavior with the crowd,” said the report.
Police also said Wicklund “likely could have projected himself in a more favorable light” while in the after bar crowd.
“Officer Wicklund’s tone was abrasive and he did not make a concerted effort to deescalate the situation verbally,” police said.
The report also said another officer at the scene, Officer Conley, should have calmed down the crowd. Police recommended he takes a four-hour professional communications class.
“Some of the good that came out of this incident is that we analyzed it and scrutinized it more than virtually any other call,” said Captain Jim Runge of the Green Bay Police Department.
Runge said in his 29 years with the department, the arrest was looked at the closest because of the cell phone video.
After people watched the video, some said Officer Wicklund was using excessive force. Police officials concluded that wasn’t the case.
In a police interview after the arrest, Wicklund said he felt “resistive tension” from the man who was arrested, Joshua Wenzel. Wicklund also said Wenzel “walked toward him with a look on his face like he wanted to fight.”
Eventually, Wenzel was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Police officers said they are fine with being recorded. Runge said it happens almost every day.
“Any citizen has the right to record any activity of any public official that they see performing their duties in public,” explained Runge.
Runge said the person who recorded Officer Derek Wicklund’s arrest of Joshua Wenzel did nothing wrong. However, Runge said there have been situations where people record video and get in the way of police.
“Just understand, keep a safe distance,” he said. “If an officer tells you, ‘Stay back,’ do it. If you have questions, wait until the incident is resolved. Do it at an appropriate time.”
Green Bay Police also recommended more training for the whole department on professional communication and crowd control.
The President of Green Bay’s police union released a statement Wednesday evening.
“From the beginning, it was clear that Officer Wicklund’s actions were justified and reasonable,” said Ryan Meader, President of Green Bay Professional Police Association. “This lengthy investigation was unnecessary and avoidable. The lack of a proactive response by police administration allowed this story to take on a life of its own on television, print, and social media.”