Wisconsin reaches its lowest number of active law enforcement in the last decade

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 5:56 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Local law enforcement and state representatives met on Tuesday to discuss a bill aimed at beefing up local law enforcement staffing. A top goal is to get officers to move to Central Wisconsin and work here.

“We’ll pay you for your law enforcement experience as well as to relocate here in the state of Wisconsin,” said Republican Rep. Patrick Snyder, of Schofield.

The bill would give $2,000 to existing officers and up to $10,000 for new officers. It also proposes a $5,000 sign-on bonus for new officers. It would reimburse law enforcement academy costs.

Officers that relocate from out of state would receive an additional one-thousand dollars per year of experience up to $10,000. State Rep. Snyder hopes to use ARPA federal funds for this bill.

Supporting law enforcement sign at Tuesday's meeting.
Supporting law enforcement sign at Tuesday's meeting.(wsaw)

Portage County Sheriff Mike Lukas said recruitment has been a challenge.

“You know, 30 years ago there were 350 applicants, I put out two deputy positions last month and I had 22 people apply,” said Sheriff Lukas.

Deputies at Marathon County Sheriffs Office often have to work overtime to make up for staffing shortages.

“We frequently run at minimum staffing just to meet the numbers that we have to have,” said Scott Parks, Marathon County Sheriff.

They’re hoping the bill, if passed, will draw in new and existing officers and provide some relief.

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