May a city subject to Wis. Stat. sec. 62,13 operate a joint police department with a county? Another city? A village?
In 1971, the attorney general was asked this question by Eau Claire County and concluded that there was no legal authority for the creation of a city-county metropolitan police agency. See 60 Op. Att'y Gen. 85 (1971). League counsel reached the same conclusion in 1999. See Powers of Municipality 871. Since there have been no changes to sec. 62.13 to expressly authorize counties and cities subject to sec. 62.13, Stats., to organize a joint city-county law enforcement agency, a city subject to sec. 62.13 is presumably precluded from operating a joint police department with a county.
On the other hand, a city may share some law enforcement functions and expenses while still operating separate departments. Under sec. 66.0301, Stats., cities may contract with counties for the receipt or furnishing of services or the joint exercise of any power or duty required or authorized by law. This statute provides adequate authority for a city and county to enter into some type of cooperative arrangement short of combining the two separate law enforcement departments into one agency. This conclusion was also reached by the attorney general on two occasions. See 58 Op. Att'y Gen. 72 (1969); 65 Op. Att'y Gen. 47 (1976).
With regard to a joint police department with another city, there is specific statutory authority for such a venture in 62.13(2m)(a). Likewise, there is statutory authority for a city and village to form a joint police department in sec. 61.65, Stats. Therefore, a city subject to sec. 62.13, Stats., may form a joint police department with another city or a village.