MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel continued his 72-county statewide tour to meet with local law enforcement and elected officials this week with a stop in Dane County on Tuesday, January 16.
“As one of our state’s largest counties and the site of a key intersection of major interstate highways, Dane County has unique public safety challenges,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The roundtable meeting furthered the discussion about ways the state can continue to partner with local agencies on robust enforcement of our state’s drug laws and stopping the flow of dangerous drugs into our communities.”
“It is reassuring to know that Attorney General Schimel is supportive of law enforcement initiatives and has taken the time to listen to the concerns of police chiefs, elected officials and citizens,” said Andrew Rose, president of the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association and Blue Mounds Police Chief. “Attorney General Schimel is committed to assisting law enforcement with the opioid epidemic and staffing issues. He truly cares about the safety and wellbeing of our officers.”
Attorney General Schimel and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) leadership team is meeting with law enforcement and local officials in every county to discuss public safety concerns specific to each county. The challenges faced by law enforcement leaders and the criminal justice system differ from county to county, even in neighboring communities, making it critical for DOJ to be responsive to public safety needs at the local level. DOJ is local communities’ partner in safety, and these meetings aim to discover what resources and efforts DOJ can provide to make Wisconsin safer and stronger.
DOJ financially supports a number of programs to help public safety officials keep Dane County safe.
This year, Dane county will receive more than $214,000 to enhance the county’s alcohol and drug courts, which provide an alternative to incarceration for those struggling with addiction. Last year, Dane County received $80,000 from DOJ to fund the county jail’s residential substance abuse treatment program. This program offers jail-based service to inmates who were incarcerated on an opioid-related offense or who went through withdrawal from opiates while incarcerated. These offenders are offered treatment services as soon as they are released from jail. The county will also receive $25,000 from DOJ and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a pilot site in the CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program. The program aims to provide participating agencies with resources and support so they can develop plans for prevention overdoses.
The Dane County Narcotics Task Force will receive more than $132,000 from DOJ this year to support investigations focused on identifying, locating, and investigating middle and upper level drug dealers and their organizations. In 2017, Madison Police Department received more than $126,000, and Fitchburg Police Department received more than $121,000, to fund beat patrol programs that support community engagement activities.
DOJ also financially supports Dane County’s crime victim services organizations, ensuring that crime victims are given guidance and counseling as they participate in the criminal justice system. Since 2015, DOJ has distributed nearly $24.9 million, through U.S. DOJ Victims of Crime Act grants, to local government agencies and non-profit organizations in the county, including more than $85,000 to ARC Community Services, which provides substance abuse treatment to women offenders, and nearly $180,000 to Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center.
DOJ has provided an additional $111,000 to the Dane County District Attorney’s Office, and $42,000 to Freedom Inc. since 2016 through federal Violence Against Women Act grant funding.
In 2017, DOJ announced that Dane County would serve as a pilot site and grant recipient to strengthen and improve the county’s response to sexual assault. These pilot counties will receive extensive cross training for multiple involved disciplines; assistance in developing local policies and protocols for SART teams; and guidance through the creation of a continual sexual assault case review process. Two of the county’s sexual assault service providers, Rape Crisis Center and Unidos, will receive $140,000, through June 2019, to support crisis intervention through advocacy, short-term counseling, and survivors affected by the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.
To see what other counties the Attorney General has visited, and where he will going next, go to: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/ag-roundtable-map