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State DOJ asks for more money to handle officer involved death investigationsSubmitted: 09/16/2014
MADISON - Police and sheriff's offices in Wisconsin must ask outside agencies to investigate officer involved deaths.

The state legislature passed that law in April.

That's led to an increased caseload for the state Department of Justice.

On Tuesday, the department asked Governor Scott Walker for more than $738,000 to deal with the caseload as part of the department's budget for the next two years.

The DOJ got five requests to lead officer involved death investigations in the first month the law was in effect.

More than 30 police departments including Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay, have told the DOJ they would use the DOJ to lead investigations when needed.

Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath isn't surprised by the increase in requests for the department's help.

The office often works with the department's Division of Criminal Investigations for many different cases.

"Many agencies will ask for DCI's [assistance] in these types of situations because of their expertise and because of their resources with many of their agents across the state," said Fath.

The new law didn't change anything for the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.

It already had a protocol in place to have outside agencies investigate officer involved deaths.

"Our department and a lot of the departments in northern Wisconsin - this actually is no change. When we have incidents involving our officers, we often ask a neighboring sheriff's office to come in and assist with conducting the investigation," Fath added.

The DOJ would hire three agents and two analysts to work on the investigations.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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