A new online database offers Wisconsin residents the opportunity to see how much is being budgeted for law enforcement in their communities.

“Counties, cities, villages and towns in Wisconsin spend more on law enforcement and associated costs on things like jails, than on any other purpose,” said Tamarine Cornelius, an analyst at the Wisconsin Budget Project.

Cornelius said that adds up to between two and three billion dollars per year, and in some cities, it’s the single biggest budget item.

“We looked at the ten biggest cities in Wisconsin, and four of Wisconsin’s ten biggest cities spent more on law enforcement than any other purpose. That’s Milwaukee, Appleton, Kenosha and Racine. It’s a lot of money.”

Conelius said the database can help citizens engage with elected officials to assess law enforcement spending.

“Wisconsin policymakers should listen to calls to assess law enforcement spending, and reallocate resources in a way that better supports communities and allows them to thrive.”

The database allows residents to look up spending on law enforcement and related costs for Wisconsin’s largest 100 cities and all 72 counties, and see how that amount compares to public spending for other purposes.

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