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Bill would expand police grant funding in Wisconsin

State Representative Joe Sanfelippo said it's matter of re-prioritizing spending.  A new bill he's proposing would increase funding for law enforcement grants from about $1.2 million to around $16 million.  He said the bill wouldn't require any new spending, instead he'd shift money from other grant programs.  He gave examples like diesel truck idling reduction grants, tobacco use control, walleye production contracts, the Wisconsin Arts Board, tourism joint marketing, Buy Local grants and the state Parole Commission.

\"Priority should be placed on crime and controlling it and bringing perpetrators to justice,\" Sanfelippo said.  \"I'm ready to standup  to some of these special interests and say you know time to re-prioritize money.\"

Sanfelippo said public safety problems trickle down and affect job creation and economic development.

\"On an economic development level, on a job development level we can spend all the money we want but if people feel an areas not safe, they're going to avoid it,\" Sanfelippo said.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan and Milwaukee Police Association President Mike Crivello support the bill. Both have been advocates for more police department funding and more police officers.  

\"A portion of the solution, not the entire, but a portion of the solution is the appropriate level of policing,\" Ald. Donovan said.

Sanfelippo says he hopes to travel the state to hear from different law enforcement agencies. He hopes to get the bill passed and start taking grant applications in the fall.

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