Wisconsin Spends More on Local Policing

Mar 6, 2014

Wisconsin municipalities spend more than the national average on policing, a new report finds.  The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance finds communities spent an average of $288 dollars per person in 2011 – the 12th highest rate in the nation. 

Per capita in Wisconsin, municipal spending on policing is increasing.
Credit Edward Kimmel

Stephanie Rubin, policy research analyst for the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, says that spending went up more than 18 percent between 2007 and 2011. 

“Per capita police spending has risen relatively fast in recent years. And spending is lower in communities with smaller populations.  So towns, which are smallest, spent the least, villages spent the second largest amount, and cities spent the most.” 

At the same time, Rubin notes that the number of officers per person in Wisconsin is lower than the national average - less than two local officers per 1000 individuals in 2012. 

“Not long ago, Wisconsin had more officers per capita than most other states.  But in recent years, officer protection has declined, such that it’s behind the national average.”

The report also finds significant variation in police spending across municipalities. 

The report also finds that statewide, three municipalities opened a police department since 2006, and seven communities shut their departments down. 

Meanwhile, state spending on policing is lowest in the nation, at just $22 per person.  The national average is $41.