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On June 4, I had the privilege of issuing retired Department of Justice agent Tom Steingraeber the credentials to carry a concealed weapon. Tom had a law enforcement career that spanned over forty years, beginning with the Milwaukee Police Department and ending as the Bureau Director for what was then known as the White Collar Crimes Bureau within the Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. Tom's experience, record, and ability to meet the firearms qualifications that all DCI agents must pass today, qualified him for his credentials.
I have the authority to issue the credentials to Mr. Steingraeber and other retired DCI personnel through the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004. This federal law, more commonly known as HR-218, establishes guidelines by which experienced retired law enforcement officers who meet the firearms qualifications requirements of their former employing agency may obtain credentials that allow those officers to carry firearms of the type they used while on the force. The law recognizes that a law enforcement officer's ability to protect public safety in a crisis situation does not end with his or her retirement.
As I have traveled across the state, I have repeatedly heard from active and retired law enforcement officers who are concerned with the implementation of HR-218 and the lack of implementation of HR-218 in many jurisdictions. Though I believe a properly crafted state law would be beneficial to HR-218 implementation legislation I actively pursued last legislative session with Representative Don Friske make no mistake, federal law currently does authorize employing law enforcement agencies to issue permits to their retired law enforcement officers who meet the statute's criteria. Among the requirements to qualify, a person needs to have 15 years of service as a law enforcement officer, needs to pass the employing agency's annual firearms certification, and needs to be honorably retired.
A number of law enforcement agencies in the state have issued HR 218 permits to retired law enforcement officers. I am proud to be the first Attorney General to do the same for retired Wisconsin Department of Justice DCI agents. And I look forward to working with law enforcement and legislators to implement HR-218 on a broader scale.