Wisconsin law enforcement officers are supposed to be collecting information about vehicle occupants during traffic stops as part of a new law that took effect January 1st, geared at curbing racial profiling, but at least one sheriff is not abiding by that mandate.
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said what was promoted as a simple form to fill out is in reality a page & a half, and takes too long. “In November, I actually saw the form for the first time, and I’m just like ‘this is absolutely crazy.’ State legislators, I think they tried to do something that was good, and they were looking forward to make sure that there was no racism. I have no issue with that.”
Beth told WRJN that he put his foot down on the new state law, and said ‘no,’ because it will keep his deputies from enforcing the traffic laws. “One of the biggest complaints that I get, no matter where I go, is people want traffic laws enforced. They want these people that are doing 80 or better on the Interstate stopped, driving recklessly through their subdivision, blowing red lights, they want them stopped, and a citations for most people is what they think they should get, or at least a warning, and talked to.”
The sheriff points out his department wrote 8200 hundred citations last year, and this form – on average – takes about 6-minutes to fill out. “This form is very cumbersome, and it’s going to stifle the officer that’s going to stop that 16 year-old driver, just got his license, rolled through a stop sign.” Beth said the form even wants longitude & latitude on traffic stops. “Who created the form . . . they must be throwing every possible thought they had onto this form when they did. I have no idea how to do that, but no one needs that information.”
The sheriff says he expects there to be some kind of financial penalty from the state for non-compliance, but also wants to take this issue to lawmakers in Madison.