The Wisconsin State Capitol Police has law enforcement responsibilities for more than 800 facilities throughout the state. The majority of these buildings are located in the cities of Madison and Milwaukee and include Department of Administration (DOA) owned, DOA leased and non-DOA leased or owned facilities.
The Patrol Section is the uniformed branch of the State Capitol Police stationed in Madison and Milwaukee. It is responsible for the detection and preliminary investigation of crimes, traffic accidents, traffic violations and the protection of lives and property on Department of Administration managed properties. Capitol Police Officers assigned to the Patrol Section wear traditional police uniforms and are assigned to specific beats that are patrolled on foot, bicycle, or in marked police vehicles. Assignments and patrol types are established to minimize response times to calls while maximizing police visibility.
The State Capitol Police have statewide jurisdiction to enforce laws. Officers assigned to this section are called upon to perform a wide range of duties and often must deal with individuals who have social and/or behavioral problems (i.e. mental illness or controlled substance abuse/addiction). State Capitol Police Officers also perform traditional law enforcement responsibilities of investigating criminal activity and apprehending law violators.
Another responsibility of officers in the Patrol Section is to monitor large crowds gathering at state facilities for specially sanctioned events such as Concerts on the Square, Farmer's Market, Art Fair on the Square, Cows on the Concourse and the Winter Holiday Parade. The Patrol Section also monitors and maintains order during the many unsanctioned events (i.e.: political demonstrations, rallies, acts of civil disobedience and marches) that occur on state property.
The State Capitol Police support the expression of free speech, the demonstration of ideas and are committed to the protection of those rights, even if the ideas are unpopular. The basic police function, as it pertains to demonstrations or assemblies, is to protect the first amendments right to free speech, to peaceably assemble and to petition the government. However, these rights need to be balanced with the public's rights to free movement, privacy and freedom from violence. The goal of the State Capitol Police, with regard to demonstrations/assemblies, is to protect individual rights through complete impartiality, while ensuring that government can continue to function.
In addition to law enforcement, the State Capitol Police have substantial security and access control responsibilities for DOA facilities and for many non-DOA sites as well. Officers provide security services (monitoring alarms and notification of authorities) to non-DOA sites such as National Guard Armories, statewide Historical Society sites, the Veterans Museum, State Gaming Commission facilities, Badger State Industries/Bureau of Correction Enterprises, Department of Revenue facilities and others.
The Dignitary Unit is responsible to provide protective services to the Governor, his family and staff, and the many VIPS that visit the State of Wisconsin. The Capitol Police provide protection for the Governor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when he is located at the Capitol or Executive Residence. Other major responsibilities include investigating threatening or harassing conduct directed at the Governor or his designees. The Capitol Police also plan and direct the protective details for other high-ranking state and federal officials within the State.
The Investigative Court Services Unit conducts complicated criminal investigations, processes over a thousand court cases annually and is highly skilled in the use of sophisticated surveillance and alarm devices used to detect criminal activity.