GOP-backed bill package takes a decade of low police manpower | WFRV Local 5

KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – Wisconsin law enforcement and recruiting are at their lowest for a decade.

Representative Jim Steineke (R) -Kaukauna said, “There are currently 13,576 law enforcement officers in Wisconsin. Only 766 people entered the profession in Wisconsin last year.

Valley Police Services said additional funding was needed to fill their staffing gaps and recruit more officers into the state.

Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas said: “Our challenge has always been to find funds for bonuses and recruiting bonuses. And paying for the rookie academy and a lot of those issues are the ones we’ve tried to solve in the past.

The bill includes $ 1 million for a “Pro-Cop Wisconsin campaign”. Menasha Police Chief Tim Styka said community support is crucial for the success of policing.

“I think it really sends a message that resonates with this law enforcement community at all levels knowing that they are supported,” Styka said. “And I think that’s the message that’s got a bit lost over the past couple of years.”

The bill creates a matching grant program for small agencies to hire new officers.

Representative Kevin Petersen (R) -Waupaca said, “For an overwhelming majority of small departments that depend on part-time agents, onboarding an agent can be expensive, costing around $ 4,500.

There are also funds to help pay for officers’ police school fees.

Chief Jamie Graff of the Kaukauna Police Department said: “I think giving municipalities or police departments funding to help send these people to school would be a good option and for many agencies that have. struggling to find qualified people and get them to recruit school and get paid for it.

Democrats said they agreed law enforcement needed funding, but reminded listeners that Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul already offered $ 115 million in funding in November.

Rep. Lee Snodgrass, (D) -Appleton said, “I understand from my inquiries that the Republicans in Wisconsin haven’t worked with Kaul’s office, so today I’m feeling a little bit dishonest. “

She said she was concerned that this funding would come from one-time federal grants and that there was no long-term plan to provide this additional funding.

“It’s also important to note that the way cities fund police and firefighters is done primarily through revenue sharing and that the state of Wisconsin’s shared revenue was unchanged in the GOP budget,” said Snodgrass. “Governor Evers proposed an increase in shared revenues that would have provided more funds for local municipalities to invest and recruit more agents.”

The architects of the bill said they hoped the money could flow to officers the second the bill was signed by the governor.

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