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Throughout its first year, more than 800 WCAN alerts have been issued, helping to solve a variety of crimes.
MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wishes to thank law enforcement statewide for their use of the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, or WCAN, which was unveiled to the people of Wisconsin little more than a year ago. Since it became operational, more than 800 alerts have gone out, helping law enforcement statewide solve more than two dozen crimes. Those crimes in which the WCAN has played a key role include sexual assaults, endangered missing persons, as well as cases of theft and robbery. Officers report several cases that were solved within one hour of using the WCAN.
On December 12, 2012, the Park Falls Police Department issued an “Endangered Missing Child/Adult Alert” through the WCAN, concerning an 18-year-old female who unexpectedly left her place of employment. Law enforcement believed the woman may have been at risk of harm, and was traveling with a 19-year-old male. As a result of the WCAN alert, other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies assisted and later the same day, the woman was safely located and the male suspect was in custody.
After a successful resolution of the case, the Park Falls Police Department commented, saying “The alert concerning the missing endangered person we recently sent out brought us more assistance than we could have ever imagined. We are grateful to have this amazing tool.”
“This case out of Park Falls, like many, is a prime example of why I'm thankful to the many in law enforcement, local business and the public who have joined me in supporting the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “Safety returning missing people, recovering stolen property, or tracking down wanted or violent individuals -- these are all core missions of the network, which depends on an engaged, informed and concerned community, so thank you.”
Other recent “success stories” include:
On November 21, 2012, the Ashland Police Department sent out a WCAN alert concerning a female who had entered a local hospital with a child and was trying to gain access to office doors. Once inside of the offices, the suspect stole a cell phone, cash and credit cards. The suspect then used the credit cards at local businesses and a business in Rice Lake. Photographs of the suspect were attached to the WCAN alert. Within 15 minutes of issuing the alert, the Ashland Police Department received a call from the Rice Lake Police Department, identifying the suspect, who was later charged with three counts of burglary.
On November 7, 2012, the Milton Police Department sent out a WCAN alert concerning the use of stolen checks at two local businesses. A Rock County dispatcher received the alert and recognized that two other agencies, the Beloit Police Department and Janesville Police Department, had investigated and arrested a suspect in similar cases. The investigating officer from Milton contacted the Beloit and Janesville Police Departments and learned the identity of the suspect, who was later charged in the Milton case.
With the WCAN, law enforcement officers issue alerts at no cost either by fax, e-mail or text message to individuals and business owners, who may enroll online to receive alerts at a cost of $12 a year. To enroll or to learn more about the WCAN, visit the website below:
The WCAN also is hosting free crime prevention webinars for subscribers. The next scheduled training is Wednesday, January 30, 2013, from 2-2:30 pm. It is entitled “Social Network Privacy: How to Protect Yourself and Your children,” and it will cover how criminals are using social networking sites to facilitate identity theft.
Participants will learn what should remain private when using social media sites and other tips, strategies and tools for protecting sensitive, personal information. Visit http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/ for details.