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New Initiative Would Link Law Enforcement With Business Community to Combat Crime in Wisconsin


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen introduced a new initiative to fight crime at a Capitol press conference this morning. This network would link law enforcement and the business community in a partnership to combat crime on a new level in Wisconsin.


The Wisconsin Crime Alert Network is a fax and email system that enables local law enforcement to alert participating businesses of criminal activity or notify them of a missing person. The alert can be tailored to specific types of businesses and geographic regions in order to provide the most useful information to those who are most likely affected by that crime and those who have information that could lead to the arrest of a suspect or the safe recovery of a missing child.


"By providing appropriate information to private citizens about criminal activity, law enforcement increases its eyes and ears, resulting in more suspects being caught and more missing children being recovered," said Van Hollen. "The Wisconsin Crime Alert Network will be a major step forward in assisting local law enforcement in their everyday quest to protect the citizens of Wisconsin."


Bi-partisan legislation authorizing the creation of the network has been authored by Senator Jeffrey Plale and Representative Garey Bies. The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice, chaired by Representative Joel Kleefisch, conducted a public hearing on the bill this morning.


"The Wisconsin Crime Alert Network program is a simple, low-cost law enforcement tool that will become a highly effective way to lead to the apprehension of criminals, locate missing persons, and prevent crime," Van Hollen said. "I would like to thank Senator Plale and Representative Bies for supporting this initiative to further protect Wisconsin."


The Department of Justice would develop, administer, and maintain the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. It would also train local law enforcement on using the network. Only law enforcement would send out crime alert messages. The participation of private entities would be voluntary, and participants would be charged a nominal fee. In Minnesota, where a similar program exists, this fee is $12 per year.


A copy of Attorney General Van Hollen's prepared testimony before the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and a fact sheet about the program is available on the Wisconsin Department of Justice website at