Hamilton unveils ideas to address violent crime in Milwaukee

More police officers, boarding school among recommendations

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton unveils public safety recommendations at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton on Tuesday unveiled a series of 23 recommendations to address violent crime in Milwaukee, including plans to dramatically increase the number of police officers patrolling city streets and expand or revamp several aspects of the local criminal justice system.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton unveils public safety recommendations at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.
Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton unveils public safety recommendations at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

The recommendations include hiring as many as 280 police officers, boosting the salaries of Milwaukee County assistant district attorneys, increasing staffing and pay at the city’s emergency dispatch center, revising certain police policies and expanding the Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa.

The recommendations also called for a “boot camp-style” boarding school for some juvenile offenders.

Hamilton called the recommendations, which were part of a 31-page report examining different aspects of public safety in Milwaukee, “a work in progress” and said they were meant to “start the conversation.”

“This is not something the entire council has endorsed,” Hamilton told reporters. “What we are endorsing is a process, and what Alderman (Bob) Donovan, as chairman of the (Public Safety) Committee, has put on the table is something for us to start to talk about. What we want to be able to do at this stage, now that we have something written down, (is to) start moving toward a concrete platform for us to be able to continue this conversation.”

The report was put together by a group of aldermen led by Donovan. Hamilton said the report and recommendations, referred to as the Public Safety Action Plan, were authored over the course of the summer.

Their release, however, comes a little more than a week after a series of violent protests erupted in the Sherman Park neighborhood on the city’s northwest side.

Hamilton said he is working with city and county leaders to organize public meetings on the north and south sides of the city to get community feedback on the recommendations.

The recommendations would be far too expensive for the city to implement on its own, he said, and he has reached out to Gov. Scott Walker and County Executive Chris Abele to examine which of them would be financially possible.

“We didn’t put it together with the mindset that we would be paying for everything that was in there,” Hamilton said. “We are going to have to have the state come to the table to make some of those things happen. The budgets that we’re operating in right now will not give us the opportunity to do some of the recommendations that you see in this document. We have had conversations with the governor. We’ve had conversations with the state legislature.”

You can read the proposed Public Safety Action Plan in its entirety here:

Public Safety Action Plan posted by Ben Stanley on Scribd

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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