State budget writers have agreed to sign off on additional state investigators to review officer-involved shootings in Wisconsin. The Joint Finance Committee is approving four of five positions requested by Attorney General Brad Schimel.
“We were concerned about the police shootings and the number of them,” said committee co-chair, Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), who noted that such shootings need to be “treated with integrity.
The state Department of Justice is charged with investigating such shootings under terms of a recently-enacted law which requires an outside agency to handle them.
Schimel noted in March that the DOJ investigation into the fatal shooting of Tony Robertson, a black teenager, by white Madison police officer Matt Kenney involved more than 100 investigative reports, more than 60 interviews, and interviews of more than 40 separate households as part of the neighborhood canvas. A core group of 29 DCI agents, analysts and supervisors were part of the process.
“We just wanted to give the public assurances that when these shootings take place there will be an independent investigation,” said committee co-chair, Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette).
Schimel had requested five additional investigators; the budget negotiators agreed to four, and those will need to be funded within the agency’s budget.
“He has vacancies,” Darling said. “We are not putting a ton of new money right now, but we feel like his department has the ability to have these positions, and fund them.”