A man was killed in a house fire near Superior early on Thanksgiving morning. Douglas County authorities said 28-year-old Zebulun Downey was found in the basement of his home -- and he was trying to put out the fire before he collapsed. Several other family members escaped unharmed. Officials said the lower part of the two-story house was engulfed in flames when fire-fighters arrived about 1:30 a-m yesterday. Deputies said the blaze spread so quickly, that the building collapsed within about 15 minutes. However, crews stayed on the scene until about mid-afternoon so they could recover Downey's body. There was no immediate word on what caused the fire.
Madison Police say the wearing of body cameras by officers might not generate the public trust in law enforcement that many of us think. Some officers in Wisconsin's capital will start wearing the body cameras in 2016 in a pilot program. Next week, police will give a report to the Madison City Council which questions whether it would be worth the estimated one-million-dollar price-tag. Captain Kristen Roman said her officers are not taking an position yet on whether to support or oppose the use of the body cameras. However, she cites a U-S Justice Department study which found that the cameras' benefits are largely perceived -- and it's too soon to know their full impact. Roman said fewer citizens file complaints against officers who wear cameras, but more research needs to be done see if they actually increase public trust. As the report put it -- "There are no easy solutions or technological fixes to what, in the end, is a matter of trust." Madison Police figure it would cost almost a half-million dollars to buy body cameras for all its officers -- plus a quarter-million to store the images, and another quarter-million to manage records. Alderman Scott Resnick, who introduced resolutions for the report and pilot program, said he appreciates the skepticism -- but he said many other police departments have "real-world examples" that the cameras are worth the investment.
It's been almost 33 years since a female body was found attached to a floating pier on the Milwaukee River -- and to this day, no one knows who she was. The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office has just issued a digitially-reconstructed photo of what the victim might have looked like. They call her "Jane Doe 1982," a 5-foot-4 African American who could have been 15-to-35 when she drowned. An off-duty Wauwatosa fire-fighter found the body wedged between a pair of metal barrels attached to the floating pier. That was on March 16th of 1982. Now, the medical examiner's office had artists from the National Center for Missing-and-Exploited Children perform a digital reconstruction from five Polaroid photos of Jane Doe, and a host of other local information. Officials said she might have been in the Milwaukee River for up to three months. Despite intense news coverage at the time of her disappearance, nobody came forward to identify her. Forensic investigator Michael Simley said she was a young person who "had to be missed by someone." Simley posted a Web site three years ago which now has photos and data about nine unidentified bodies.
A man was killed after being hit by a commuter train in Kenosha County, which left two other trains stuck in the process. It happened Wednesday night in Pleasant Prairie. A Metra train from Chicago was supposed to arrive in Kenosha at 7:10 p-m -- but it got stuck on the tracks after hitting the man. A second Metra train from Chicago became stuck an hour later. A third train arrived at Pleasant Prairie around 10 Wednesday night to get stranded passengers back to Kenosha. Police are still trying to figure out why everything happened. The victim's name was not immediately released.
A Wausau attorney who recently criticized the use of an armored vehicle to enforce a civil judgment is facing discipline for other alleged actions. The state Office of Lawyer Regulation will hold a hearing next Thursday to determine whether Ryan Lister's law license should be revoked. The office filed complaints against Lister in 2013 for engaging in a sexual relationship with a client -- failing to communicate with a client -- not responding to a request to return legal fees -- not holding a person's settlement funds in trust -- misusing a client's trust account -- and not cooperating with state regulators. Thirty-four professional misconduct allegations were filed. Lister is challenging his possible license revocation. A state referee suggested the action, and said Lister pay restitution to two clients as well as the state Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection. Lister has been an attorney since 1976. He had his law license suspended for two months in 2010 for violating State Supreme Court rules. Lister recently gained statewide publicity after claiming "vindictive" prosecution against Roger Hoeppner -- who paid an 80-thousand dollar civil judgment after Marathon County authorities used an armored tank in confronting the man. Officials said it was justified due to his past experiences with local officials. Lister and others called it overkill -- and the attorney said he didn't know about a disorderly conduct citation in the case until a reporter asked him about it.
A man in Verona was taken to a hospital overnight, after he broke into a church and kept police officers at bay for almost three-and-a-half hours. Media reports said Verona Police were called around eleven on Thanksgiving Night to Saint James Lutheran Church, where a window was found to be broken. The suspect reportedly called 9-1-1 after seeing officers arrive -- and he apparently said he had a gun, would start shooting, and said he might start the church on fire. Dane County SWAT officers and hostage negotiators responded -- and the suspect gave up around 2:20 this morning without incident. At last word, sheriff's deputies were trying to determine why the break-in and stand-off occurred.
The technical college in Madison has created a program to train law enforcement on the proper and ethical use of drones. Madison College says there's a public perception that officers could use the unmanned cameras to snoop on people unnecessarily. Because of that, Brian Landers -- the college's criminal justice chairman -- told W-I-S-C T-V there was a need to provide "safe and ethical training" on the drones -- and where they cannot be used. Earlier this year, the governor and Legislature approved a bill to let law enforcement use drones. They must obtain search warrants to gather evidence, but there are exceptions for things like rescue-and-search operations. Landers says drones can save lives, as well as tax dollars. The American Civil Liberties Union says the state law is too weak -- and lawmakers still need to create guidelines to protect people's privacy.