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Somerset police help get new bill approved

Somerset Police Officer Adam Wojciehowski (far right) watches as Gov. Jim Doyle signs Assembly Bill 230. Rep. Ann Hraychuck and Rep. Kitty Rhoades supported this bill allowing Wisconsin law enforcement officers to access digital driver's license photos to verify identities. The bill was signed into law on Monday, March 15.

After two years of work, it has finally come to fruition.

On Monday, March 15, Officer Adam Wojciehowski of the Somerset Police Department, stood in the Wisconsin State Capitol and watched a bill he and his fellow officers had been campaigning for finally get signed.

Assembly Bill 230 will now give Wisconsin law enforcement the ability to access driver's license photos for the "administration of criminal justice or traffic enforcement."

According to Somerset Police Doug Briggs, this has been a long time coming.

"In the past, we could only get a physical description of the subject," Briggs said. "With having people from all over only here during the summer, they would sometimes give the name of a relative or friend, and it would just create a mess."

"(Accessing driver's license photos) has always been available in Minnesota and we noticed that it saved a lot of time," he said.

Wojciehowski was the lead officer in coordinating the request to Representatives Kitty Rhoades and Ann Hraychuck. The bill eventually gained the attention of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, which lent its support.

The Department of Transportation still has to implement the program, as the bill had to be passed first for legality purposes. As soon as the DOT gives the go-ahead, Wisconsin police officers will be able to request the digital photos through their computers -- no additional equipment or software will be required.

"In this day and age of identity theft, this will help us better protect the public," Briggs said.