Remembering the Fallen
Remembering the Fallen
I have been a prosecutor for over 25 years, and in that role I have had the honor of working alongside law enforcement, to help bring safety and security to our fellow Wisconsinites.
Wisconsin’s men and women in law enforcement set out each and every shift to keep our communities safe, and they do so not knowing what they will encounter or what will be asked of them. This bravery alone is nothing short of extraordinary.
Unfortunately, there are some officers who never make it home at the end of their shift. Each year around this time, we recognize National Police Week, in order to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting their communities.
Sadly, in the last 12 months, Wisconsin lost four officers of our own: Town of Salem Police Officer Michael Ventura, Rusk County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Glaze, Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland, and Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Anthony Borostowski.
I attended the funerals of all four of these brave men, and each time I remembered not just the sacrifice these officers paid, but also the sacrifice made by their family. The family of our law enforcement officers watch their mom or dad, or child, or grandchild, or brother or sister, leave the safety of their home to protect the rest of the community, not knowing what danger their loved one will face.
During National Police Week, as we remember four Wisconsin officers who gave their lives for us, pray for these families, and all law enforcement families, as we thank them for their sacrifice. Also, consider putting up blue lights or blue ribbons outside your home to show your support for our law enforcement, and when you encounter an officer, thank them for their service.
To our Wisconsin law enforcement team – I and everyone at the Wisconsin Department of Justice wishes you many safe shifts ahead, and thanks you and your families for your service. Stay safe.
Ask the Office of Open Government: Personal Email Accounts of Government Employees
Question: I work in government. Are emails on my personal email account subject to disclosure under the public records law?
Answer: The public records law authorizes requesters to inspect or obtain copies of “records” created or maintained by an authority. Under the law, a “record” is defined, in part, as any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual, or electromagnetic information or electronically generated or stored data is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that has been created or is being kept by an authority. Essentially, content, not format, determines whether something is a record. It does not matter how or where the information is stored, whether it be on a piece of paper, in a database, or in an email.
Emails sent to or from an authority’s email account are records subject to disclosure because they are material created and/or maintained by an authority on its email system. Such emails, like all records, are presumed to be open to public inspection and copying, but there are exceptions. Statutes, case law, and the public records law balancing test, which weighs the public interest in disclosure of a record against the public interest in nondisclosure, provide such exceptions. Therefore, any email sent to or from an authority’s email account—government business-related or personal—is subject to disclosure.
Generally, personal email accounts of government employees are not subject to disclosure. The exception is if an employee uses his or her personal email account for government business. Any email sent to or from the personal account that pertains to government business is subject to disclosure. Again, the content of the email determines whether it is a record not its location. Purely personal emails on an employee’s personal email account are not subject to disclosure.
If government employees use their personal email accounts for work purposes, they must ensure that they conduct a careful search of any such personal accounts when the authority receives a public records request. If government employees receive work-related emails on their personal email accounts, it is recommended that they forward those emails to their government email address immediately. This alleviates the need to search personal email accounts each time a new public records request is received. Ultimately, the best course of action is that government employees only use their government email accounts for government business and their personal email accounts for personal matters.
Wisconsin Breaks Record with April Drug Take Back Day Collection
Wisconsinites collected a record-breaking 66,039 lbs. of unused medications were collected at Drug Take Back events on Saturday, April 29, 2017 and at more than 300 permanent drug collection receptacles located throughout the state.
I am so proud of the many thousands of Wisconsin families who are committed to ending prescription drug abuse by getting unused medications out of their homes and disposing of them on Drug Take Back Day or year round at one of more than 325 permanent disposal boxes throughout our state. We could not over and over again be among the top three states in America for drug disposal without the coalition of private partners like Fuchs Trucking and Covanta Energy, and public partners like the hundreds of local law enforcement agencies and the DEA. These partners do the heavy lifting, literally, to ensure these drugs are disposed of in an environmentally safe way and that these potentially dangerous drugs don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Wisconsin DOJ Awarding $920k to Sexual Assault Survivor Support Services
As part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), that the Wisconsin Department of Justice will award $920,000 for sexual assault victim support services. The money will be awarded through a competitive grant process to sexual assault service providers in each of the ten Wisconsin counties with the highest number of unsubmitted sexual assault kits.
In addition to direct support for victims, the grant funds will provide training to law enforcement, prosecutors and hospitals in these counties. This is critical to ensuring unsubmitted sexual assault kits never again accumulate in local law enforcement agencies or hospitals in Wisconsin.
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