Appearing with Rep. Chris Danou (left) and Sen. Jim Sullivan (right), WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer spoke at a press conference on August 20 to support the Police Protection Bill.
The WPPA is supporting legislation that would 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 on August 20, 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.
Several officers 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 the intent was called into question. Veto says this bill would 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 in the elections last year.
UPDATE: POLICE PROTECTION BILL TO GET SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING ON FEBRUARY 4!
The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing will hold a public hearing Assembly Bill 269 at the State Capitol on Thursday, February 4, at 10:05 a.m. in room 411 South. This legislation was approved by the State Assembly late last year, and time is running out to make enact this law before the legislative session ends in March
You are welcome and encouraged to attend to observe the proceedings or to testify in favor of the bill.
If you’re driving to Madison, there are parking ramps located at all four corners of the outer ring of the Capitol. Once in the Capitol, take the North Wing or West Wing elevators up to the Second Floor.
Regardless of whether or not you can attend, WPPA members are encouraged you to send an e-mail to the members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing to urge them to support AB 269. Those committee members are as follows:
If you cannot attend, please take a moment and send them an e-mail to request their support for this measure. The e-mail addresses for these committee members can be found at the following website:
Thank you for your support for this legislation! Anything you can do will help