UPDATE: More Than 800 WCAN Alerts Issued in 1st Year

UPDATED Thursday, January 3, 2013 --- 1:51 p.m.

Press Release from Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's Office:

Throughout its first year, more than 800 WCAN alerts have been issued, helping to solve a variety of crimes.

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wishes to thank law enforcement statewide for their use of the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, or WCAN, which was unveiled to the people of Wisconsin little more than a year ago. Since it became operational, more than 800 alerts have gone out, helping law enforcement statewide solve more than two dozen crimes. Those crimes in which the WCAN has played a key role include sexual assaults, endangered missing persons, as well as cases of theft and robbery. Officers report several cases that were solved within one hour of using the WCAN.

On December 12, 2012, the Park Falls Police Department issued an “Endangered Missing Child/Adult Alert” through the WCAN, concerning an 18-year-old female who unexpectedly left her place of employment. Law enforcement believed the woman may have been at risk of harm, and was traveling with a 19-year-old male. As a result of the WCAN alert, other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies assisted and later the same day, the woman was safely located and the male suspect was in custody.

After a successful resolution of the case, the Park Falls Police Department commented, saying “The alert concerning the missing endangered person we recently sent out brought us more assistance than we could have ever imagined. We are grateful to have this amazing tool.”

“This case out of Park Falls, like many, is a prime example of why I’m thankful to the many in law enforcement, local business and the public who have joined me in supporting the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “Safety returning missing people, recovering stolen property, or tracking down wanted or violent individuals -- these are all core missions of the network, which depends on an engaged, informed and concerned community, so thank you.”

Other recent “success stories” include:

On November 21, 2012, the Ashland Police Department sent out a WCAN alert concerning a female who had entered a local hospital with a child and was trying to gain access to office doors. Once inside of the offices, the suspect stole a cell phone, cash and credit cards. The suspect then used the credit cards at local businesses and a business in Rice Lake. Photographs of the suspect were attached to the WCAN alert. Within 15 minutes of issuing the alert, the Ashland Police Department received a call from the Rice Lake Police Department, identifying the suspect, who was later charged with three counts of burglary.

On November 7, 2012, the Milton Police Department sent out a WCAN alert concerning the use of stolen checks at two local businesses. A Rock County dispatcher received the alert and recognized that two other agencies, the Beloit Police Department and Janesville Police Department, had investigated and arrested a suspect in similar cases. The investigating officer from Milton contacted the Beloit and Janesville Police Departments and learned the identity of the suspect, who was later charged in the Milton case.

With the WCAN, law enforcement officers issue alerts at no cost either by fax, e-mail or text message to individuals and business owners, who may enroll online to receive alerts at a cost of $12 a year. To enroll or to learn more about the WCAN, visit the website below:


The WCAN also is hosting free crime prevention webinars for subscribers. The next scheduled training is Wednesday, January 30, 2013, from 2-2:30 pm. It is entitled “Social Network Privacy: How to Protect Yourself and Your children,” and it will cover how criminals are using social networking sites to facilitate identity theft. Participants will learn what should remain private when using social media sites and other tips, strategies and tools for protecting sensitive, personal information. Visit http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/ for details.


UPDATED Wednesday, February 15, 2012 --- 12:16 p.m.

Press Release from Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's Office:

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pleased to share some of the recent successes of the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN), unveiled to Wisconsin residents only last fall.

“Wisconsin’s Crime Alert Network is doing what it was designed to do – solve crime and protect communities. As I’ve said from the beginning, Minnesota law enforcement has solved an average of one crime a day with their network, and I’m confident we’ll see more success stories as our new network of law enforcement and citizen partners grows,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.

On January 25, 2012, the Lake Delton Police Department sent out a WCAN alert to identify the owner(s) of approximately 50 antique items recovered from a Trespassing/Burglary case suspect in 2009. Due to the unique characteristics of the items, which included a copper fire extinguisher and a caliper, and the fact that for 2 ½ years the owners of this stolen property went unidentified, Lake Delton police decided to send out an alert asking for assistance. Within five minutes of issuing the alert, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department called Lake Delton PD to identify the owner and the burglary case connected to these items. Lake Delton is the same department that previously identified a convenience store burglary suspect with a WCAN alert.

On January 13, 2012, an alert was sent out on behalf of the Sun Prairie Police Department concerning “gas station drive-offs” totaling $1,100. The Sun Prairie Police Department had a suspect identified and was trying to determine if other gas stations had the same, or similar, thefts that could be tied to the suspect. Through various methods, including an alert that was distributed via the WCAN, several police departments responded to confirm similar incidents involving the same suspect. With the help of the WCAN alert, the Sun Prairie Police Department was able to charge its suspect with 25 counts of theft.

And, on January 10, 2012, the Sauk Prairie Police Department issued an alert concerning the armed robbery of a pharmacy. Sauk Prairie officers received numerous calls from other law enforcement in response to the alert that provided information that ultimately helped locate and arrest the suspect.

These incidents offer a snapshot of how the WCAN is being used to improve communications between agencies and, in many cases, their communities. With the WCAN, law enforcement officers issue alerts at no cost either by fax, e-mail or text message to individuals and business owners, who may enroll online to receive alerts at a cost of $12 a year.

To enroll or to learn more about the WCAN, visit the website below:


UPDATED Sunday, December 11, 2011 --- 1:45 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- A new statewide system aims to keep Wisconsin communities updated on criminal activity, crime trends or missing people.

Wisconsin is only the second state to use the program; Minnesota was first.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed the bill in 2010 that authorized the state Justice Department to build the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. Police statewide are already using the alert network.

The alerts can be customized for specific types of businesses and geographic regions.

The La Crosse Tribune reports the program is designed to prevent and deter crime, as well as assist police.

The service is at www.wisconsincrimealert.gov. It costs $12 annually to support the program.


POSTED: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 --- 6:00 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard
Twitter: @cwoodardnews

A brand new, statewide crime alert system is already paying off in Wisconsin.

When two people walked into a Lake Delton Quick Mart and demanded money 3 weeks ago police had two goals. Find the guys responsible and stop the hurt for victims.

Lake Delton Police Detective Kurt Goodreau said, "Obviously these young men were not going to quite. They were on a rampage, so to speak, in our village."

What police didn't know is they'd very quickly be solving several crimes thanks a new system they had just started using.

It's called the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network.

Once Lake Delton Police sent out the alert, the rest was pretty simple.

3 Wisconsin Dells officers saw the alert on their cell phones and recognized the person in the surveillance photo. It was the middle of the night and two of the officers were off duty but they called. Within 20 minutes police knew who their suspects were.

Two 17-year-olds were arrested, alleged to have committed the burglary and 6 other vehicle break ins. Police say they also stole a vehicle.

Goodreau says, "Using this network we were able to stop these two kids from doing any other future damage, causing more pain to victims."

Today Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced the alert system to the public.

He said, "I think it's safe to say many, many more cases will be solved."

The Wisconsin Crime Alert Network is a statewide system that now allows police to send alerts to certain communities or types of businesses warning of crimes or asking for help in finding suspects.

Simply put, they say they're helping you help keep yourself and your family safe by signing up to receive the alerts.

Van Hollen said, "They have the opportunity then to be forewarned to hopefully prevent crimes and also to help law enforcement solve crimes."

Today Middleton Ford was recognized for signing up and the hope is many more businesses and people will follow.

It costs 12 dollars a year to sign up for the alerts and the plan is for those subscription costs to pay for the entire system.

If you'd like to sign up to receive the alerts you can do so at :


Release from office of the A.G.

MADISON — On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen will unveil the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN), a new public safety initiative being implemented by the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to help local law enforcement solve – and prevent crimes – by partnering with local businesses and residents.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers across Wisconsin already have been trained to issue free alerts either by fax, e-mail or text message to subscribers, who now may enroll online to receive alerts at a cost of $12 a year. The WCAN allows law enforcement to issue alerts quickly to targeted groups from more than 50 categories, such as pharmacies or convenience stores. Officers choose to issue those alerts to specific, affected groups across the county, a multi-county region or statewide.

Within weeks of becoming operational, dozens of alerts have been issued by member law enforcement agencies, including important information about thefts, missing people, counterfeit money and home invasions, among other incidents. In a recent theft case at a Chippewa Falls hospital, an alert went out with surveillance photos of the suspects and within a half-hour, local police were receiving tips about the identity of the main suspect, who was later arrested.

“Time is critical in any criminal investigation, and with this new system, we’re giving local law enforcement another resource to protect their communities by sharing appropriate information with local businesses and residents, all of whom have a stake in building a better, safer community for their families,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “By informing private citizens about criminal activity, law enforcement increases its eyes and ears, helping investigators catch suspects or find missing children as quickly as possible.”

Several years ago, an Amber Alert was issued for some missing children. Wisconsin’s Amber Alert was re-broadcast over Minnesota’s crime alert system. A member hotel recognized the photo of the suspect, alerted authorities and the children were returned home safely to Wisconsin.

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