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HomeBreaking NewsWisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board Creates Part-time Officer Policy Committee; Meeting Thursday

Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board Creates Part-time Officer Policy Committee; Meeting Thursday

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The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board (LESB) has created a committee to review its policies as it relates to part-time police officers.

Last month, Wisconsin Right Now exposed a quiet LESB policy change that prevents part-time police officers from keeping their law enforcement certification to take new law enforcement jobs, if there is any gap at all between employment, even one day. Full-time officers retain their certification for three years after leaving a force. Part-time officers get no time.

Wisconsin Right Now has since heard from several officers concerned that this policy change will affect them, including an officer whose employment gap was due to military service.

According to a meeting notice, LESB Policy Review Advisory Sub-Committee meeting will be held this Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., via Zoom.

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The meeting agenda will include a “Review and Discuss LESB Policy “Time Frames to Gain and Regain Officer Employment” and “Discuss Full-time Vs. Part-time employment status definition as it relates to certification status.”

As we reported, before March 2, 2021, all law enforcement officers in Wisconsin had up to three years to regain employment without going through lengthy and costly training again. However, on that date, the board added the word “full-time,” leaving part-time officers in limbo.

The LESB policy change seems to be in direct contradiction with State Administrative Code LES 3.05 which says,

 “Newly employed law enforcement or tribal law enforcement officers who were either grandfathered into the board’s program or who have already been certified by the board or newly employed jail or secure detention officers who have already been certified by the board, who have been out of law enforcement, tribal law enforcement, jail or secure detention employment in Wisconsin for a period of 2 years or less and left voluntarily with a good record may be recertified without additional training.”

Since 2008, the number of law enforcement officers in the state has dropped by 1,000 officers. That number includes full-time officers. That comes as crime has spiked throughout Wisconsin.

Yet, the board’s policy change prevents part-time police officers from keeping their certification to take new law enforcement jobs, if there is any gap at all between employment, even one day. Full-time officers retain their certification for three years after leaving a force. Part-time officers get no time.

Law enforcement agencies employ part-time officers to support patrol functions, conduct prisoner conveyances, and staff events like county fairs, and seasonal positions like boat patrols. These positions are often filled by retired police officers or people with other full-time careers.

LESB director Ron Betley has never responded to our questions or for comment. We wanted to how many part-time officers there are in the state, how many officers have been affected by the rule change, who was responsible for this rule change, and why it happened.

Jim Piwowarczykhttps://www.wisconsinrightnow.com/
Jim Piwowarczyk is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Wisconsin Right Now.
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