Governor Walker signed a bill into law this week that began with criminal cases in Eagle River.
Senate Bill 226 adds the crime of child enticement to the forfeiture law in state statutes. It allows law enforcement officers to seize an offender's vehicle or property if used for child enticement.
Eagle River Police Chief Mark Vander Bloomen asked Representative Rob Swearingen to change the law. He says as the department investigated child solicitation in Eagle River, the law didn't allow for property seizure...
"....they were using the motor vehicle in the context of a crime against a child, and when we started looking into the statutes we found there was no statuatory authority that was readily available to seize that vehicle...."
Swearingen authored the bill in the Assembly, and Luther Olsen in the Senate. Swearingen says property seizure is allowed for other crimes, including prostitution, but until this week, not child enticement....
"....we opened up the state of Wisconsin statutes. Law enforcement has the ability to confescate property for a variety of different reasons....impersonating an officer or prostitution. All we did was open up the state statutes and include crimes of child enticement in there...."
Chief Vander Bloomen says the offenders would solicit the child on the Internet, then meet them using their vehicles.