State Police Association Endorses Burke In Race For Governor

Organization Says Violent Crime Has Increased Under Walker's Leadership

Mary Burke speaking to the press after receiving the endorsement of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association on Thursday. Photo: Shawn Johnson/WPR News.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association endorsed Democrat Mary Burke for governor on Thursday, saying Gov. Scott Walker has been responsible for major cuts to police funding.

Walker’s first budget made deep cuts to the shared revenue Wisconsin sends to local governments that pay for police. The Wisconsin Professional Police Association’s Jim Palmer said his organization warned that the move would increase crime, and that the numbers now bear that out.

“The FBI’s crime data makes clear that under Scott Walker, not only has Wisconsin trailed its neighbors in creating jobs, but in combating violent crime as well,” Palmer said.

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In fact, FBI crime data shows a nearly 14 percent increase in Wisconsin’s incidents of violent crime over the first two years of Walker’s term. Most other Midwestern states saw their violent crime numbers stay flat or go down.

University of Wisconsin emeritus professor of law Walter Dickey, however, said that attributing the increase to just two years of a governor’s policies “borders on the preposterous.”

“Over longer term — building infrastructure, jobs, the economy — (the governor) obviously make a difference,” said Dickey. “But we’re talking about effects over far longer periods of time than a governor’s single term.”

Dickey also said crime is a uniquely local problem, and violent crime rates are not the best way to measure it.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association does not always back Democrats — for example, it endorsed Republican Brad Schimel over Democrat Susan Happ in the race for attorney general.

Meanwhile, Walker’s campaign announced on Thursday that Walker had been endorsed by the Wisconsin Troopers Association.

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