Today, US Senator Herb Kohl questioned Attorney General Eric Holder at a Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight hearing about the possible closure of three Wisconsin FBI Resident Agencies -- satellite offices of the Milwaukee FBI Field Division. Kohl serves as a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The FBI proposes closing the Kenosha, Wausau and La Crosse offices. Details have not been finalized, but it is expected that Kenosha agents will move to Milwaukee, La Crosse agents will move to Eau Claire, and Wausau agents will be relocated elsewhere within the state.
"My office has been informed of an FBI proposal to close three of its six Wisconsin satellite offices," Kohl stated at the hearing. "If these closures go through, the Western District of Wisconsin will lose half of its FBI offices and may have to make do with fewer agents. I have serious concerns about the ability of the remaining two offices to adequately support already underserved rural areas."
The FBI stated that these closures will lead to a "stronger and more effective FBI presence in Wisconsin." Kohl questioned that statement and the ability of the remaining offices to serve residents in rural areas if the downsizing occurs.
Attorney General Holder replied that he has heard these concerns and agreed to work with Senator Kohl to make sure Wisconsin is not hurt by these proposed closures. He noted that this is a time of budget cuts, but that we must make sure that the FBI remains efficient and effective.
U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil, the chief law enforcement officer in the Western District, strongly opposes these closures.