TO LAW ENFORCEMENT, ALL EMERGENCY AND SUPPORT AGENCIES
Within hours of Governor Walker’s release of the budget repair bill on February 11, I suspected that the days following his announcement would be unlike any I had experienced during my tenure as the Chief of the Wisconsin Capitol Police. In the month that followed, hundreds of thousands of people visited the Capitol to express their support or opposition to legislation that has since been voted on by the state Legislature and signed by the Governor.
The Capitol Police did not have the necessary personnel to ensure the safety of the unprecedented crowds that came to the Capitol Square to participate in rallies related to the legislation. We relied on assistance from other state agencies and eventually from local law enforcement agencies as the daily rallies continued and our security needs grew. Officers were also stationed inside the Capitol to ensure its continuing safe function as an office building where hundreds of employees remained dedicated to carrying out the work of the people of this state. As threats were made against public officials, additional security was required. Many different agencies and personnel provided support for these operations including fire departments, EMS, emergency dispatchers, State employees, civilian support staff, volunteers, health care professionals who monitored the health of officers who were logging overtime for several consecutive days and others.
In short, our top priority when the rallies began was to keep everyone who visited the Capitol or worked there safe. Thanks to the professionalism and expertise of officers and other personnel from both state government and across Wisconsin, we achieved that goal. In light of the passion on both sides of the issues at the heart of the budget adjustment bill, the scene at the Capitol could have been quite different. Law enforcement deployed at the building share the credit for peaceful demonstrations with the vast majority of the Wisconsinites who came to Madison to express their views. All personnel were patient while relying on common sense when dealing with the situation. Their commitment to the task at hand was unwavering despite the long hours and stressful conditions.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of slain Fond du Lac Police Officer Craig Birkholz and wounded Fond du Lac Police Officer Ryan Williams, who assisted at the State Capitol during the rallies. Their service to the State of Wisconsin will forever be remembered.
I am honored to command the Capitol Police and grateful for the opportunity to work with the countless law enforcement officers, emergency services personnel and support services staff who answered our call for assistance during this time. Together, we have been able to keep everyone safe so that visitors, lawmakers and staff can attend to their business in the Capitol. It has required the work and cooperation of many people and I am proud to be associated with them. I don’t have words that are sufficient to express my tremendous gratitude, so let me simply say, thank you.
Chief Charles A. Tubbs Sr.