Working for Public Safety and the Rule of Law
Working for Public Safety and Rule of Law
The Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) was launched in the fall of 2011 by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, becoming only the second state in the nation with a statewide alerting system. Now, six years later, WCAN has become a vital communication tool for law enforcement agencies to share information with businesses, the public, and other law enforcement departments.
On March 27, 2017, Andrew Nesbitt was tragically stabbed to death on his 46th birthday in his downtown Madison apartment.
The Wisconsin State Journal described how local law enforcement agencies worked together to capture Andrew’s killer:
Police got their biggest break on Tuesday after they sent an image from one of the cameras across the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, used by law enforcement to share tips and alerts. Anderson [the suspect] was identified by a member of the UW-Madison Police Department, who noticed the similarity with a photo of Anderson taken by a camera at Union South on March 20, when Anderson allegedly harassed an employee there, according to UW-Madison Police spokesman.
The Madison Police Department received the lead from the UW-Madison Police Department just two hours after Madison PD sent out the images over the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network.
To date, just over 9,000 WCAN alerts have been issued and those alerts played a key role in the successful resolution of 85 criminal and missing persons cases. The types of incidents sent out over WCAN include homicide, sexual assault, child abduction, and armed robbery. When a WCAN alert is issued, it is not unusual for cases to be solved in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes.
Alerts can only be issued by law enforcement agencies, and are broadcast via email, text message, and fax. The ability to attach photos to these alerts has been a key element to WCAN’s success.
In one step, agencies can register multiple members of their department to receive alerts, in fact, some agencies have taken the opportunity to sign up all of their personnel. A law enforcement officer or dispatcher can issue a WCAN alert 24/7 to targeted recipients organized by group, and geographically by county, region, or statewide.
More than 1,000 law enforcement personnel have used their accounts to send out alerts, and more than 7,000 law enforcement personnel in Wisconsin have set up accounts to receive WCAN alerts. Non-law enforcement subscribers total more than 5,000, and there is no cost for anyone to subscribe, nor is there any cost for law enforcement to use the system. Anyone can sign up to receive alerts by going to www.wisconsincrimealert.gov. Law enforcement interested the ability to send out WCAN alerts can also learn more by clicking on the “Law Enforcement” in the header of the website.
If you are part of a law enforcement agency wishing to sign up multiple members of your department, contact the WCAN office at (608)240-3597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Wisconsin Silver Alert Celebrates 3 Years of Helping the Elderly Home
This month, the Wisconsin Silver Alert program celebrated three successful years protecting the elderly. 96% of the nearly 200 Silver Alerts that have been issued in Wisconsin since the program’s inception have resulted in the missing person returning home safely. Launched in August 2014, the Silver Alert program notifies the public when an adult with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other permanent cognitive impairment is missing.
On average, missing persons are recovered 20 hours after they were last seen and at least 25% of these recoveries are the direct result of the program. As attorney general, I appreciate the law enforcement agencies and community members who participate in the Silver Alert program and share our commitment to protect the elderly and vulnerable across our state. Together, we have been able to quickly recover countless friends, family members, and neighbors and ensured their safe return home.
A total of 196 Silver Alerts have been issued since August 1, 2014. On average, an alert is issued every 6 days and the average age of the missing person is 78-years-old.
You can sign up to receive Silver Alerts or learn how law enforcement can issue alerts at www.wisconsincrimealert.gov.
Wisconsin Solicitor General’s Office Reports Remarkably Successful Term
The Office of the Solicitor General’s Office has played a critical role in upholding the rule of law and advancing the interests of the State of Wisconsin in several of the highest courts of the land. Their success at the United States Supreme Court has been nothing short of amazing, and I look forward to many more wins in the future.
At the U.S. Supreme Court during this term, the office successfully briefed and argued Murr v. Wisconsin, and obtained stays in both the litigation over Wisconsin’s redistricting plan, and the Unborn Child Protection Act. The office also filed an original action against the State of Delaware, over which the court granted jurisdiction.
At the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the office was undefeated in criminal cases, 9-0, and prevailed in several civil cases as well. In other appeal courts, the office was similarly successful, obtaining a stay in the voter ID litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The Office of the Solicitor General was created by 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, and consists of five attorneys: the Solicitor General, the Chief Deputy Solicitor General, two Deputy Solicitors General, and the Assistant Solicitor General. The Office of the Solicitor General frequently works side-by-side with other units within the Division of Legal Services to competently represent the State of Wisconsin and the state’s interests.
Office of Open Government Shines Light on Government in 2017
During the Office of Open Government’s nearly two year existence, it has become a shining example of government transparency and openness, and an asset for the public and DOJ team members alike. Although DOJ is not required to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order related to open government, I agree wholeheartedly with the Order’s goals, and I believe the Office of Open Government can serve as a model for other government entities trying to establish best practices.
- Responded to 354 public-records requests;
- Released public-records reports, video, and audio files related to 4 officer-involved shootings or deaths;
- Responded to 271 requests on its Open Government Helpline (PROM);
- Responded to 36 formal requests for guidance concerning open government.
In the future, the Office of Open Government will post new information on its website:
- A snapshot of all public-records requests pending on Monday of each week;
- The average monthly response time;
- OOG’s internal policies and procedures.
The office was created in 2015 by Attorney General Brad Schimel and reports directly to the Office of the Attorney General. The Office consists of Assistant Attorney General Paul Ferguson, two paralegals, one legal associate, seven DCI employees, and DOJ attorneys within the Employment and Open Government Section of the Civil Litigation Unit.
You can learn more about the office at https://www.doj.state.wi.us/office-open-government/office-open-government.
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