Looking on as Gov. Doyle signed the Police Protection Bill into law on May 7 were Sen. Sullivan, Rep. Danou, Dane Co. Sheriff David Mahoney, Dane Co. Deputy Dale Vito, and WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer.
The WPPA is pleased to announce that two bills of great importance to its members have been signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle. The success of both bills was made possible by aggressive lobbying and the willingness of the members to come to testify at legislative committee hearings in Madison and to contact their state legislators.
THE POLICE PROTECTION BILL
Assembly Bill 269 will make it a felony if an officer is hurt in the line of duty because of a suspect’s resistance or attempt to flee. At a news conference to announce the August 20, 2009 introduction of the bill, WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer, State Representative Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) and State Senator Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa) explained that it would make suspects more likely to comply if they know there are potentially harsher penalties in attempting to get away.
In cases where police are injured by those attempting to flee, Palmer further pointed out that the accused are rarely punished. He said the prosecutor must prove that the accused intended to injure the officer, which is difficult to do. The Police Protection Bill will hold individuals accountable for injuries that would not have occurred but for their efforts to escape an arrest.
Throughout this legislative process, officers from around the state that were injured from resisting or fleeing suspects told their story, including Dane County Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Veto. While attempting to stop an erratic driver, Veto deployed road spikes. The suspect’s car swerved over, hitting Veto at 60 miles per hour. Both of Veto’s legs were broken in the collision, and he suffered significant muscle and nerve damage as well. The driver, a teen in a stolen car, was never charged with a felony for the injuries because his intent was called into question. This bill will provide a “safety net” for cases such as his. The Police Protection bill would also apply to third parties whose obstruction of a pursuit leads to the injury of an officer. Both authors of the bill, Representative Danou, himself a former Onalaska police officer, and Senator Sullivan, were heavily supported by the WPPA when they ran for office.
THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE BILL ALSO TO BECOME LAW