Local law enforcement frustrated by chances some cases could be - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Local law enforcement frustrated by chances some cases could be ignored

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MADISON (WKOW) -- It was a bombshell ruling, not by a judge, but instead by the Dane County District Attorney's Office. The decision: some crimes will soon be ignored. 

At a press conference Tuesday, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said only serious cases would get the attention of his office due to ongoing staff shortages. 

"It means that we're not as safe as we had been in years past," said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

It's a startling reality that local law enforcement isn't fond of. 

"That will definitely send a resonating Richter scale sort of tremor through our community because I think everybody wants to see people held accountable," said Madison Police Chief Mike Koval. 

The most serious crimes, including homicides, sexual assaults, violent crimes with firearms, crimes against children and others will be prosecuted. It's still unclear which type of crimes won't be tried in court. 

"Victims are not honored and defendants, criminals are allowed to go free," Mahoney explained. 

It means some law enforcement officers may question, if what they're doing is going to waste. 

"It makes them frustrated because they're doing their work. They're doing their job and then cases that they submit have to go unanswered," added Mahoney. 

"The time and the effort and the connection they've made to victims is basically being written off," said Koval. 

Both Chief Koval and Sheriff Mahoney say their departments will still respond to all calls and will continue to make arrests, even for cases that may no longer be prosecuted. But they worry about the message this all could send to those with criminal minds. 

For Koval, crimes that won't be tried in court could impact how his department operates.

"If ultimately, burglaries are not a priority anymore, then I might as well reassign those detectives to other important priorities," said Koval. 

A decision that could have a lasting impact, unless the Dane County District Attorney's Office gets the funding for the staff they need. 

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