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Gov. Walker announces plan to expand tracking, DNA collection from offenders

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Walker said Tuesday he would budget $6 million over the next two years to force those arrested for felonies to give their DNA to the police.

The Republican Walker also said he would budget another $3 million to expand GPS monitoring, so the police can track high-risk offenders who are under restraining orders.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen joined the governor on a quick tour of the state’s major TV markets, to plug the major law enforcement initiatives to be sought in the budget that Walker will submit to the Legislature a week from Wednesday.

Right now, only those convicted of felonies and sex crimes are required to submit the DNA to a database that police use to solve past, present, and future crimes.

Walker said the estimated 68,000 additional DNA samples would help police solve even more crimes. And criminals would help pay for it with surcharges of $200 to $250. Walker also hopes to get federal grants. 

The GPS expansion is the result of last October’s slayings of three women in a Brookfield spa by Radcliffe Haughton – who was under a restraining order against seeing the estranged wife he murdered before he killed himself.

But it’s the police taking DNA from those not convicted that has attracted controversy. It was first rejected three years ago, when Democrats ran the Legislature.

State ACLU director Chris Ahmuty calls it a “government intrusion that undermines the presumption of innocence.”

On another matter, Walker rejected Van Hollen’s request to divert money from other justice programs to pay for the DNA collection. But the governor did agree to move nearly all duties of the Office of Justice Assistance to the attorney general’s wing.

No services would be cut – like helping sex assault victims. 

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