The Crime Information Bureau (CIB) of Wisconsin is a subset of the Division of Law enforcement Services which operates within the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ). The CIB comprises of units which are dedicated to compiling crime history data and offering this to interested applicants, not just from the criminal justice community but also citizens of the state. The five branches of the CIB are:
- The Records Check Unit
- The Criminal Records Unit
- The Firearms Unit
- The Image and Archive Unit
- Time and Technical Unit
Of these, the Criminal Records Unit which is currently being supervised by Mary Mayer should be of interest to anybody who seeks to obtain information on arrest records from the agency. At this time, the central crime repository maintained by the CIB contains over 1.3 million records. The Unit handles the processing of data pertaining to the issue of active warrants, arrests, charges filed, disposition and corrections.
This information is submitted to the Criminal History Records Section by the local law enforcement agencies, offices of district attorneys, county clerks, municipal and district courts. Since the unit has exclusive authority over the storage of crime history data, they also handle requests pertaining to crime history expungement. However, arrest records are only removed from the system in response to an express court order in the matter.
The Record Check Unit (RCU) takes care of the warrant search requests sent to the DOJ. Information on WI arrest records and outstanding warrants is given to the general public as well as law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The RCU performs investigations for arrest records and active warrants on the basis of personal identifiers such as the name of the subject, date of birth, gender, race and SSN.
It is also possible to avail fingerprint checks through the RCU but this facility is currently only being offered to criminal justice entities and applicants who are authorized by state legislation or a court order to seek crime history records. Name based searches are particularly provided keeping in mind the ease with which these inquiries can be conducted and the limited resources required for launching them.
However, it should be noted that although it is possible to seek crime history data from the RCU in response to a name based warrant search, the information saved in the computerized crime history system is 100% fingerprint based. This means that if arrests are reported without fingerprint cards, they will not be included in the central crime records repository.
How to find arrest records in Wisconsin?
The DPS offers two options to requesting crime history data.You can contact the agency online or by writing to them.
Mail inquiries: You will need to download the form at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/sites/default/files/dles/cib-forms/record-check-unit/DJ-LE-250-single.pdf. Fill this and send it to the agency at the Record Check Unit, PO Box 2688, Madison WI 53701-2688. It can take 7 to 10 days to receive the response and you will be charged $12 for the inquiry
Internet inquiries: Online inquiries can be conducted at https://recordcheck.doj.wi.gov/ and you have the provisions to establish an account with the RCU if you intend to initiate routine warrant searches or pay by credit card for a one time inquiry. The results are offered almost immediately and they are charged at $7 per investigation.
Applicants do not need an authorization certificate from the subject to conduct crime history inquiries in the state. The information offered pertains only to crimes that have occurred and were reported in Wisconsin. Although you will get access to details on all arrests and outstanding warrants in the name of the subject, juvenile records will be off limits.