Wisconsin Crime Alert Network asks for community help

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Wisconsin law enforcement officials have a new tool to help them solve crimes more efficiently, but they can’t do it without the community’s help.

Wisconsin’s Crime Alert Network debuted earlier this month. It’s already been useful for helping solve crimes.

Law enforcement officials say for this network to be even more useful in the future, they’re going to need help from the community.

Solving crimes in Wisconsin just got a little easier for law enforcement officials.

“It’s something that allows us to share information quickly and allows us to get information out quickly,” said Capt. Shawn Kudron with the La Crosse Police Department.

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Wisconsin’s Crime Alert Network went online earlier this month. Businesses and individuals can sign up to receive alerts through fax, email or text message if officials need help solving a crime. 

The network has only been online for a few weeks, but it’s already come in handy. Last week, both a crime alert and an Amber Alert were issued when 13-year-old Courtney Harshman disappeared. Within a couple of hours, Harshman was found.

La Crosse Police Department Capt. Shawn Kudron said the crime alert network is a helpful tool to have in cases like this.

“It certainly helps,” said Kudron. “We’re able to get additional information out to the eyes and ears of our community and allow people to help us.”

After the success Minnesota’s had with its crime alert network, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said it was time for Wisconsin to get on board.

“It’s tremendously important,” said Hollen. “I think our society is only able to function because we have individuals who are willing to keep the peace within our society even though it’s not their direct obligation under the law or under their occupation.”

But the resource isn’t free. Businesses and individuals who want the service have to pay an annual $12 fee when they sign up. But Captain Kudron said that dollar a month has a big payoff.

“It’s a small price really to pay that can essentially can help the community and really it’s an opportunity for people within the community as well as businesses within the community to lend a helping hand for law enforcement agencies,” said Kudron.

The La Crosse Police Department already uses social networking to reach out to the public for help.

Kudron said the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network allows them to send out alerts with more specific details like graphs, pictures and descriptions that a Facebook post or a tweet may not be able to do.

If you want to sign up for the Crime Alert Network, you can head to wisconsincrimealert.gov.