AG hopes Jarchow comes up with enforcement plan
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican Attorney General hopeful Adam Jarchow on Wednesday offered a multi-faceted plan to tackle violent crime and help students with mental health issues in a bid to counter the experience of prosecution of main opponent Eric Toney.
Jarchow, a former Balsam Lake State Rep., will face Toney, the Fond du Lac County District Attorney, in a primary on Aug. 9. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Josh Kaul in the November 8 general election.
Jarchow has worked to energize the conservative base by attacking President Joe Biden on issues such as inflation, while Toney has portrayed himself as a seasoned prosecutor.. Jarchow’s plan represents his first major attempt to stake the ground on law enforcement issues.
“Wisconsin families want to defund our police, get crime under control, end low-bail parodies, and keep our children and communities safe. As Attorney General, our brave men and women in uniform will have a strong ally – and together we will fight rising violent crime and make Wisconsin safe again,” Jarchow said in a statement.
State Department of Justice spokeswoman Gillian Drummond returned a request for comment to Kaul’s campaign. No one with the campaign immediately responded to an email Wednesday morning. Toney’s campaign had no immediate comment.
The first part of the plan would create new programs at two- and four-year colleges to train more police officers; waiving tuition fees and canceling student loans for those entering law enforcement careers; and establish a grant program to help local police recruit and pay officers. The plan does not include cost estimates or say where the state Department of Justice would get the grant money.
Republican lawmakers introduced a number of bills in the last legislative session that would have achieved most of those goals using federal COVID-19 relief funds, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the proposals. .
Part two calls for the creation of a Violent Crimes Task Force made up of agents and prosecutors from the state Department of Justice who could deploy to any community to assist law enforcement. local orders to investigate and prosecute violent crimes.
The task force would also compile data on violent crime rates as well as the status of violent offenders on bail and in custody. Republicans are still angry with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for allowing his office to recommend bail of just $1,000 for Darrell Brooks Jr. Prosecutors say Brooks drove his SUV during a Christmas parade in Waukesha., a Republican stronghold, just days after its release in November. Six people died and dozens more were injured.
The Justice Department already provides investigative and prosecutorial assistance to local authorities who request it at any time, but it does not have a dedicated violent crime task force. The FBI also compiles data on violent crimes.
Jarchow campaign aide Joe Fadness said the creation of the task force will “focus” Justice Department resources and ensure residents get the help they need. The task force would create a system capable of monitoring crime data in real time, he added. The FBI publishes its statistics every year.
The third part of the plan would give the Justice Department the ability to charge offenders in gun cases anywhere in the state. District attorneys currently have initial jurisdiction over such cases. The Justice Department’s ability to lay charges directly would end after three years. The plan calls for funding the initiative with a surcharge on relevant cases.
Fadness said local prosecutors were overwhelmed by rising gun violence and needed help. Milwaukee, for example, has recorded 62 homicides so far in 2022, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel database that tracks homicides in the city. Most of the victims – 89% – were shot. The city recorded 197 homicides last year and 190 in 2020. In both years, 90% were shot, according to the database.
Granting such power to the Ministry of Justice would require legislative action. If Evers survives re-election in November and Jarchow wins the attorney general’s office, it’s almost certain that Evers would veto anything that grants him such powers.
The final part of the plan would turn the Justice Department’s Office of School Safety into a full-fledged division, providing more resources and staff to deal with school safety issues. The money earned from the legal settlements would help fund school-based mental health programs for students and their families. The division would work to train police stationed in schools.
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