Republican legislative members introduce bills to assist with officer recruitment and retention

[Wausau, WI] – State Representative Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk) joined Rep. Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield), Marathon County Sheriff Scott Parks, Everest Metro Chief Clayton Schulz, and Wausau Deputy Police Chief Matt Barnes  at the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office for a press conference yesterday afternoon to unveil a new legislative package aimed at supporting law enforcement departments across Wisconsin.

“Few careers are under such a microscope as the police,” stated Rep. Callahan. “Those who are there to protect us and guard us from danger often end up being persecuted and vilified for the career they have chosen. Today, Wisconsin has the lowest number of law enforcement officers working in at least a decade – only 13,576 officers statewide. Resignations and retirements have increased and new applicants to the force have decreased. We have to do something to protect our communities and loved ones, and we need to do it now.”

The legislative package unveiled yesterday allocates American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to assist law enforcement departments both big and small, rural and urban with recruitment and retention of police officers. Rep. Callahan is authoring two of the bills in this important package:

  • LRB-5351: Reimburse law enforcement academy costs for all officers, not just those sponsored by an agency. Ensure this reimbursement is sufficient to cover the entire cost. Double state reimbursement for annual re-certification costs.
  • LRB-5417: Provide free fishing and deer hunting licenses to law enforcement officers and waive state park camping and admission fees on Memorial Day weekend.

Among other bills, the package also includes the introduction of LRB-5464, a resolution honoring law enforcement officers and designating May 2022 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Month.

“The officer recruitment and retention crises doesn’t differentiate between small or large communities. It affects the entire state,” continued Rep. Callahan. “I am honored to help bring forward this much needed legislation alongside my Republican colleagues and ensure that supporting and investing in our law enforcement is a top priority in the Legislature.”

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