Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 Triple GOLD Award Recipients

HomeBreaking NewsWILL Says State Agency Acted 'Unlawfully' Against Part-time Law Enforcement Officer

WILL Says State Agency Acted ‘Unlawfully’ Against Part-time Law Enforcement Officer


“State agency acting unlawfully, enforcing illegally adopted policy to his detriment and potentially hundreds of other Wisconsin law enforcement officers.” -The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has filed a Petition for Judicial Review to appeal the decision of the Law Enforcement Standards Board that has denied WILL client, Noah Gausman, the ability to continue serving as a law enforcement officer.

In December, Wisconsin Right Now profiled Gausman’s case and exposed a 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 data from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the number of officers in Wisconsin fell to less than 13,000 in 2023. That’s the lowest number of officers in the state since at least 2008 when the state DOJ started keeping track. At that time, the total number of officers in the state was almost 14,500.

Earlier this year, as a result of our reporting, LESB formed a subcommittee to review the policy change and ultimately decided to give more time for part-time officers to regain employment, although the exact details of that decision have not yet been made public by LESB.

According to the WILL press release, “Noah Gausman is a single father raising his son, and he supports himself and his son by working part-time as a law enforcement officer at various agencies in Northwest Wisconsin. Law enforcement officers (whether working full-time or part-time) used to have three years to regain employment after leaving a job before they had to go back to school and complete the police academy again.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Gausman, a few years ago a state agency decided to unilaterally adopt a new policy which only allows full-time and not part-time officers like Mr. Gausman the ability to find new employment within three years. As a result, the state agency informed Mr. Gausman that because of this policy he was no longer able to serve as a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin and had to complete a 720-hour police academy.

Mr. Gausman went through the administrative appeal process and the agency denied all of his appeal requests. Today, he brought that appeal in the circuit court where a Judge will get to weigh in.”

WILL Deputy Counsel Lucas Vebber said, “Noah is a dedicated public servant and a hard-working father who is just trying to support his family and keep our Wisconsin communities safer. But bureaucrats in Madison have decided to flex their ‘muscle’ and deny him the opportunity to work. WILL attorneys continually stand by everyday Wisconsinites who are forced to go up against the full weight and power of state government, and it is an honor to fight for Noah’s rights and livelihood.”

Gausman commented, “Being in law enforcement is my calling and has always been my dream. I have served honorably for years without incident, and want to continue to do so going forward, but starting over from the beginning is simply not an option for me. I am grateful to the team at WILL for their help and fighting back on my behalf.”

The Circuit Court will now get to review the agency’s record and come to its own conclusion as to whether the state agency followed the law and came to a correct decision.

See the petition here.

Jim Piwowarczyk
Jim Piwowarczyk is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Wisconsin Right Now.

Latest Articles