Police, Fire & EMS

One in three Wisconsin police departments had to reduce the number of sworn officers in 2019, as the combination of levy limits and shrinking state support impact local budgets. New research from the Wisconsin Policy Forum illustrates in sharp detail how communities across the state are struggling to maintain funding for their police departments in the face of budgets that get tighter every year. 

The Wisconsin Policy Forum compared 2018 and 2019 police budgets (the most recent data available). The data showed that both police and fire department budgets in roughly one-third of Wisconsin’s local governments shrank from one year to the next. This occurred in all size communities throughout Wisconsin. First responders and the people that rely on them are feeling the pinch. 

As Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert said, "Something has to give." 

Trends in Local Police Budgets and Spending in Wisconsin (PDF) Wisconsin Policy Forum Webinar PowerPoint, Sept. 17, 2021

"Some cuts to police predate calls for defunding" Wisconsin Policy Forum Report, August 2021 

Providing Police Services

Law Enforcement The Municipality, January 2021