Browsing: Crime and Justice

Opioids are the leading cause of overdoses in Wisconsin, according to the state Department of Health Services’ most recent data. The figures, from 2014 through 2021, show considerable variation from county to county not only on the number of opioid overdoses but on the rate as well.

There is a real possibility for cannabis reform to result in public safety gains for the Badger State but the tradeoffs that must be accepted are a significant reduction in safety on the state’s highways and roads and an increase in minor property and nuisance crimes near cannabis dispensaries if the state were to establish a commercial market for either medical or adult-use products.

According to a Marquette Law School poll last fall, 64% of registered Wisconsin voters, and 43% of Republicans, favor full legalization. Thirty percent of Wisconsinites and 50% of Republicans think it should remain illegal. Only 6% of registered voters say they just don’t know.

Governor Evers signed a budget passed by the Legislature that includes a more than 30% starting pay raise for assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders and more flexibility for merit-based pay raises for attorneys currently in those roles. This makes the compensation for these roles more competitive and should reduce the high rates of turnover currently existing in District Attorney and public defender offices. 

A deal that allows both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to raise sales taxes also requires that 25 police officers be placed back in crime-ridden Milwaukee Public Schools.  

“This is a great victory for all the good kids in MPS schools who just want to learn, want to be safe, want a way up,” said Mike Nichols, president of the Badger Institute, which has been pushing for cops in schools for much of the last year.

Assembly Republicans have proposed a sales tax plan for the city of Milwaukee that would put police officers back in Milwaukee Public Schools for the first time since 2016. The plan would allow the financially hobbled city to levy a local 2% sales tax with the promise of state shared revenue to help pay down on its ballooning pension debt.

A spokesman for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has told the Badger Institute it is “likely that Milwaukee police officers will have a renewed presence in some Milwaukee Public Schools in 2023.” Should Milwaukee Public Schools and the Milwaukee Police Department follow through, it would be the first time officers have been posted in schools since 2016. The School Board allowed officers to patrol around schools for four years after that but voted unanimously to prohibit that as well in June 2020 after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.