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Why do Tosa police spend time arresting criminals from other communities?

Issue: Noticing the number of local arrests involving other jurisdictions in recent issues of Wauwatosa Now, a local resident wrote, “There are number of crimes being committed in Wauwatosa itself that keep our police busy without adding these criminals on warrants to their burden.”

Status: It’s all part of cooperative police network supported by a database that tracks offenders.

In a prepared statement, Lt. Brian Zalewski said, “The Wauwatosa Police Department comes into contact with many individuals through the course of official business who have some type of warrant through another jurisdiction. These warrants range from municipal or traffic citations that have not been paid to felony crimes for which the person is wanted. By the time someone has a warrant entered into the computer database we research, they have failed to appear for court cases, usually numerous times.”

Zalewski noted state law permits officers to make an arrest with belief based on probable cause   that an arrest warrant has been issued in Wisconsin or another state. His statement also addressed the obligation police officers have to arrest individuals who have “absconded on their legal obligation which has led to the warrant being issued.”

The database can be accessed in police vehicles as well as at the station.

As of March 24, the department has arrested 121 individuals on warrants from other jurisdictions and 16 individuals on warrants from Wauwatosa cases.

“I don’t have a way to easily track numbers,” Zalewski reported, “but people are arrested frequently by other jurisdictions on Wauwatosa warrants and then turned over to our department.”

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