Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Troubling tracking

State budget

After hearing from local law enforcement in Senate District 28 that I represent, I opposed a provision in the 2009-11 state budget that requires law enforcement throughout Wisconsin to keep track of racial data on all traffic stops beginning next year.

One of the departments I heard from was the Franklin Police Department through the Franklin Common Council.

As feared and predicted, the tracking requirement will be costly. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

“Plans released last week by the state Office of Justice Assistance show the cost to the state to gather the data would be $757,000 next year - costs that would be paid through an additional $1.50 fee on traffic tickets, other civil fines and some court filing fees.

That wouldn't include the costs for local police departments, which have to ensure the data is collected and forwarded to the state. The easiest method for officers on patrol would be to use a modified version of an existing data system called Badger Tracs that already is used by the state and some local police departments to track tickets. That system, which automatically could forward the data to the state, uses special laptops installed in squad cars at a cost of $5,000 to $8,000 each.

But 400 of the state's 600 police departments don't use the system and would need to spend some $10 million on equipment for their patrol cars to adopt it, according to a state estimate.”

Racine’s police chief told the newspaper he’s concerned the measure will distract officers from higher priorities.

Put this requirement in the category of provisions that need to be repealed during the next legislative session.

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