Bill would encourage cooperation among policeMADISON – Lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow cooperation between tribal police and their city and county counterparts, reversing a prior decision by the state's attorney general.
By: By Kirk Carapezza, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
MADISON – Lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow cooperation between tribal police and their city and county counterparts, reversing a prior decision by the state's attorney general.
Back in 2008, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen made a decision that tribal police are not required to respond to calls for help from city and county police. Since then, lawmakers and law enforcement officials have been trying to reverse it.
Rep. Ann Hraychuck is the sponsor of the bill that would reinstate mutual aid between tribal police and the state's law enforcement agencies. She says it's crucial to making sure police have enough back-up. Hraychuck says “when this opinion was rendered it virtually stopped mutual aid between tribal law enforcement officers and all other law enforcement officers in the state. It has a huge impact on public safety and officer safety.”
One concern for tribes is that the plan might threaten their sovereignty, but Hraychuck says her bill would allow them to receive help without losing any authority. The plan won't require tribal police to follow the state's open records law, which, Hraychuck says, troubles members of the media and sheriffs who think their reports should be public. She says lawmakers “decided to go ahead without having solved that particular issue.” She doesn’t think it's germane to the specific topic of simply adding law enforcement officers to the mutual aid statute and that's what this law does.
The senate is expected to take up the bill when it reconvenes April 13, and supporters hope it'll reach the governor's desk before the end of this legislative session.