MADISON, WI… State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) urged Gov. Evers to listen to President Biden and fund our police with federal pandemic relief monies, as directed by legislation sent to him today by the State Senate.
Referencing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding availability for law enforcement in his State of the Union Address last week, President Biden said, “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police. Fund them with resources and training they need to protect our communities.”
“I hope Gov. Evers was listening,” Sen. Jacque said. “As crime is on the rise, the number of police on our streets is at the lowest level in at least a decade. The Governor needs to reverse this trend and approve our proposed investments to support law enforcement in Wisconsin.”
Sen. Jacque said the initiatives would be funded through federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, which as President Biden noted in his address, may be used to enhance public safety. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau confirmed earlier today that according to their tracking of the Evers administration’s uses of ARPA funds, no funding has been directly allocated to law enforcement to date.
“The Governor has total control of how these dollars are spent,” Sen. Jacque said. “The President and the Wisconsin State Legislature are sending him a message that funding the police is a priority for the public and should be a priority for him.”
The following bills in Sen. Jacque’s Public Safety Package are headed to the Governor’s desk:
Assembly Bill 777, co-authored with Rep. Rachael Cabral-Guevara, could add approximately $10 million for more communities under the Law Enforcement Grant Program, distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Currently, just 10 municipalities across the state share about $2 million in grant funding.
Assembly Bill 831, co-authored with Rep. Donna Rozar, would require the Governor to dedicate $1 million of ARPA funds to a “Pro-Cop Wisconsin” marketing campaign to recruit new officers within Wisconsin and attract officers from communities outside the state that have sought to defund their police.
Assembly Bill 832, co-authored with Rep. Calvin Callahan, would use ARPA funds to reimburse the cost of police academy recruits. It would also use those funds to double reimbursement expenses to local governments for recertification costs, from $160 per officer to $320. While recertification costs vary by department, expenses can exceed $600 per officer.
Assembly Bill 842, co-authored with Rep. Chuck Wichgers, excludes all violent crimes, such as child trafficking and abuse, bank robbery, arson, and armed burglary, from eligibility for early release.
In addition, the Governor has yet to act on Assembly Bill 836, co-authored by Sen. Jacque with Rep. Jesse James, which would allocate $1 million in ARPA funds to the Technical College System Board to establish at least two part-time law enforcement academy programs across the state.
Senator André Jacque represents Northeast Wisconsin’s First Senate District, consisting of Door and Kewaunee Counties and portions of Brown, Calumet, Manitowoc, and Outagamie counties.