Wisconsin

What to do here

Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated March 5, 2020

Summary

Key:

green circle with white check mark inside

Legislation Achieved

yellow circle

Some Progress

red circle with white x inside

No Progress

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. In June 2020, Gov. Tony Evers introduced LRB 6289 to ban the use of no-knock warrants. However, in the special session Gov. Tony Evers (D) called in August, Republican legislators refused to consider police reform legislation.

1033 purchases

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.

Military style training

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. Some local departments have begun reassessing their training practices, but Wisconsin has yet to take statewide action to address this problem.

SWAT data

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Some Progress:

On April 5, 2018, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed into law a forfeiture reform bill requiring law enforcement officials to obtain a criminal conviction before permanently taking a person's cash or property, making Wisconsin the 15th state to do so.

Quotas

Achieved:

Wisconsin law prohibits a law enforcement agency from requiring a police officer to issue a specific number of citations or warnings during any specific time period.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

Some Progress:

Spitting in public and jaywalking are misdemeanor, civil offences, punishable by a fine, not arrest, in Wisconsin.
First time marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).

Reporting stop details

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law requiring comprehensive reporting of police stops (noting location, race, gender, whether force was used and whether a firearm was found). A previous 2009 requirement for this type of reporting was repealed in 2011 by the state legislature. In June 2020, Gov. Tony Evers (D) introduced LRB 6283 to mandate that the Wisconsin Department of Justice collect and publish information on use of force incidents, including the presence and use of a weapon and the demographic characteristics of the officer and effected person. In the special session Gov. Evers called in August, Republican legislators refused to consider police reform legislation.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

Some Progress:

In April 2014, Wisconsin enacted a law requiring independent investigations of officer-involved deaths. Wisconsin was the first state in
the country to pass a law requiring independent investigations of officer involved deaths. The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal
Investigations (DCI) has led most investigations since January 2015. However, the decision to press charges against officers remains with district attorneys.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

No Progress:

Wisconsin has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). Locally, The Janesville Police
Department in Rock County uses a flagging system in the county law-enforcement records system that alerts officers if an individual has symptoms of mental illness and helps them respond more appropriately. This program could serve as a model for the rest of the state.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
Of note, Gov. Evers introduced LRB 6275 in June 2020 to fund community organizations using evidence-based outreach to mitigate conflict. In the special session Gov. Evers called in August, Republican legislators refused to consider police reform legislation.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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