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As I See It

Wisconsin shouldn’t have secret police

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They are called “wandering officers.” But, in Wisconsin, there is no way to tell how many of them there are, and a new lawsuit seeks to change that. These officers are cops who get fired, resign in lieu of termination or resign before any investigation, then go on to get hired to be a police officer somewhere else. Wisconsin is one of just a handful of states that doesn’t require the list of employed police officers to be a matter of public record. Wisconsin, since 2017, has required the Law Enforcement Standards Board to keep a list of officers who have been disciplined. The theory is, police departments in the state can refer to the list when making hiring decisions. But there is no requirement they do so. Wisconsin police agencies are free to hire any officer who holds a state certification, regardless of whether they behaved badly at their previous police job. Many who are on the list continue to get rehired elsewhere. The Wisconsin Transparency Project is part of a lawsuit against the state Department of Justice, seeking a list of all police currently employed in the state, and their employment history. Our police shouldn’t be allowed to shroud themselves in secrecy, and it should not require a lawsuit to ensure that.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Tyler

    May 30, 2024 at 8:41 am

    Yes. I believe we should be able to figure out who we need to contact and who we are contacting. Most police officer won’t identify them selves as they should.i have caught police officers give me wrong info on themselves and for other officers.

  2. walden

    May 30, 2024 at 5:56 pm

    I think it’s a great ideal to have a registry of cops. That is, as long as journalists of print and digital media are subject to the same disclosures on work history, but including information on political contributions and sources of information not original content.

  3. Stacey

    May 30, 2024 at 8:57 pm

    Anyone who has a license to practice in any job position should all be held accountable to the same registry and registry checking procedures. IMO

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