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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen testified today in front of the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice in support of Assembly Bill 474. The bill, if enacted, would give greater effect to the federal law commonly known as HR 218, or the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004. This federal law permits local law enforcement agencies to issue certifications to qualified, retired law enforcement officers that meet certain criteria.
According to Van Hollen, while federal law permits local law enforcement agencies to issue certifications to those retired officers meeting the qualifications, many agencies have not done so because of a desire for clarity in state law or because of liability concerns. Assembly Bill 474 sets out to remove the uncertainties that exist by providing a roadmap to issue the certifications. Furthermore, this bill would provide a mechanism for federal law enforcement officers who worked in Wisconsin to obtain the proper credentials.
In June of 2008, the Wisconsin Department of Justice became the first state law enforcement agency in Wisconsin to issue certifications to its retired law enforcement officers. Attorney General Van Hollen issued the first certification to retired Special Agent Thomas Steingraber, and has since issued 17 additional certifications.
Attorney General Van Hollen's prepared remarks are available at: