Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Police psych evaluation bill moves on

A bill that would require law enforcement candidates to
receive psychological evaluations before being hired took a step closer to
becoming law as it passed on a voice vote in the state Senate Tuesday.

Debate on the measure comes in the wake of last year?s
shootings in Crandon by an off-duty sheriff?s department officer.

The bill now moves back to the Assembly, where it previously
received a pulling motion and was taken off the agenda without a vote,
according to co-author Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay.


The current legislative session ends tomorrow, and if the
bill doesn?t pass before then, work on the bill will start fresh next session.

Bies said that he thinks it will be difficult to get through
the Assembly because of the pulling motion last time, which was done without an

?I would say it has a difficult shot. Sometimes they go
through these things because it gives them a political advantage,? Bies said.
?It doesn?t say anything about the bill itself.?

Sen. David Hansen, D-Green Bay, was happy to see the bill
pass in the Senate and hopes it will get a similar kind of response this time
in the Assembly.

?The interesting thing is it is a very bipartisan bill. We
had the overwhelming majority supporting the bill,? Hansen said.

Sen. Alan Lasee, R-De Pere, said the bill comes in response
to the October shootings in Crandon by off-duty sheriff?s officer Tyler
Peterson. Peterson shot his ex-girlfriend, five of her friends and later

?The bill is intended to prevent an incident like the one in
Crandon,? Lasee said. ?I don?t know if the test would determine that, but I
think we need to do everything we can do to make sure the right people carry a
gun and the right people carry a badge.?

The bill would require the psychological testing only for full-time
candidates so smaller areas would not have such a high cost burden placed on
them right away, according to Hansen. He also said the law enforcement standards
board will look into and make recommendations about part-time and special
tactical unit hires also getting psychological evaluations.

Vice President of the Milwaukee Police Association Thomas
Fischer thinks the bill is a good start but would like to see even more done.

?We believe that testing should be done for all new hires,?
Fischer said. ?We want to get higher standards with the Law Enforcement Board
of Standards.?

Hansen said that 41 counties already have this in place as
part of their hiring process. Milwaukee has had the tests for two to three years,
according to Fischer.

?We initially were having a washout rate of 20 percent,?
Fischer said. ?It?s been working out pretty good for us. We are getting better
candidates coming through and seeing less discipline problems.?

Critics of the bill say the cost ? about $250 for each test ?
may be a large burden for smaller municipalities to pay for.

Bies said the bill is not currently on the agenda for the
Assembly, but he will continue to push the bill forward there.

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