Wages: River Falls can’t police for profit

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Questions police department’s tactics

Correction: This version has been updated to correct that Mayor Gunter said they could not police for profit. We apologize for the error and are happy to set the record straight.


River Falls City Councilman Gary Wages said Tuesday night that the town can’t police for profit and that he’s concerned that the police department is youth profiling.

Wages said that several people have come to him and mentioned that they do not travel through River Falls anymore due to the number of traffic stops.

“I support the police department, but at the same time, if I feel like you are doing something wrong, I will have my say.”

Wages said the town had a lot of cases and that from his own personal observations, there were more municipal cases in River Falls than in Andalusia.

“A lot of what it looks like to me is River Falls is policing for profit,” he said.

Mayor Patricia Gunter asked Wages to speak to her about policy.

“I want to make my statement and everyone will know where I am,” Wages said. “I’m just going by what people are telling me. People can find me at the market.”

Wages said he has been told that if a person traveling through River Falls is stopped and is caught with marijuana in their vehicle, everyone in the car is jailed.


“There is no point in charging everyone,” he said. “I never ask people if they have drugs in their pocket if I give them a ride.”

Wages said he felt that River Falls Muncipal Judge Stacey Brooks throws the book at people who have never had any charges.

“I believe you should give people a little benefit of a doubt,” he said. “If they are regular, habitual offenders then they have theirs.”

Wages again stated that the town couldn’t police for profit.

Mayor Gunter said that they could not.

“The reason River Falls has $500,000 in the bank accounts is because people are buying gas, cigarettes and beer,” he said. “My business is off last year and was off from the year before, but that could be mine and my employees’ fault.”

Wages also said that if older people were speeding through River Falls and the police department saw younger people headed South, they would stop them.

“That’s not racial profiling, but it’s youth profiling,” Wages said.

Police Chief Greg Jackson said after the meeting that his department was going to do its job.

“The reason things pick up this time of year is because the traffic picks up,” he said. “If you tell me not to enforce the law, that’s illegal. We are going to do our jobs no matter what.”