State DAs argue furloughs will make communities less safe - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State DAs argue furloughs will make communities less safe


RICHLAND CENTER (WKOW) -- District Attorneys across the state have a serious message for anyone who'll listen.  They say furloughing prosecutors will hurt victims and make Wisconsin a less safe place.

"We're very concerned this is going to affect the quality of the job that we do," said Andrew Sharp, DA for Richland County.

The Wisconsin District Attorneys Association recently approved a formal resolution opposing the state furloughs.  They're part of Governor Doyle's plan to cut costs in the new budget.  State workers need to take 8 days of furlough time this and next year.

Richland County only has one assistant DA, Amy Forehand, the only employee subject to the furlough.  She typically handles OWI cases, drug offenses and traffic violations. 

Forehand says some of those cases may go unprosecuted if she is forced to take furloughs.

"Right now, I only use half of my vacation time," she says.

The Department of Administration, which administers the state furlough program, did not return a call seeking comment.

Richland County was the only local DA office to grant an interview request.  District Attorneys in Dane, Rock, Sauk, Columbia, Jefferson, Grant, LaFayette, and Iowa counties did not return our calls or declined interview requests. 

In Dane County, District Attorney Brian Blanchard agreed to speak by phone but says he has a policy of never appearing on-camera on WKOW.


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