MADISON – State Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) voted to create a ‘Pro-Cop Wisconsin” campaign Tuesday when the state Assembly met for session. The campaign, which seeks to address Wisconsin’s declining number of police officers, was unveiled earlier this month at a press conference in Kaukauna by area legislators and local police chiefs.
“Law enforcement officers are facing levels of violence and scrutiny not seen in decades,” said Rep. Steineke. “Rather than risk not making it home at night, they are leaving the profession all together – making our state less safe.”
Wisconsin saw a nine percent increase in violent crimes last year. This outpaced the national average by nearly four percentage points. Targeted police killings also hit a 20 year high recently. These trends have caused law enforcement retirements to spike 45 percent and resignation to rise 18 percent. They have also impacted those entering the profession, with Wisconsin seeing its lowest number of new recruits in over 10 years.
The ‘Pro-Cop Wisconsin” campaign seeks to recruit, retain, support, and invest in members of law enforcement. One proposal passed Tuesday would provide a $5,000 signing bonus for new officers and give an additional $1,000 per years of service for those who choose to relocate to the state. Another bill encourages out-of-state officers at departments who sought to “defund” their cops to come work in Wisconsin. Other key measures include creating part-time police academy programs, reimbursing officers and departments for academy costs and employment tests, and prohibiting municipalities from banning no-knock search warrants.
“We must do all we can to support our men and women in blue,” Rep. Steineke concluded. “The measures passed today are a step in the right direction towards keeping our officers and our communities safe.”