What is Milwaukee looking for in its next police chief? How many officers could the city lose to budget cuts in 2021?
As a guest on WTMJ 2021, Mayor Tom Barrett says these are issues he’s currently working on in Milwaukee.
“We all are well aware that we need to do a better job with police/community relations, and what I have said over and over and over again is I need this to be a city where our residents work with and respect our police officers. I also need it to by a city where our police officers work with and respect our residents. It’s like a marriage. It only works if there’s mutual respect,” Barrett said.
“But the other thing is we have seen a dramatic increase in violent crime in this city after four consecutive years of declining crime. And so that is a major concern of mine,” Barrett said. “There’s no question it’s a challenging job.”
Mayor Barrett says the proposed budget, which calls for a reduction of more than 100 police officers, is the fault of the state legislature.
“You cannot expect this city, or any community, to live on the same money from the state that we did in 2002,” Barrett said.
“In 2002, the per-diem that state legislators received just for being in Madison was $88 per day. The amount they received just by being in Madison in 2019 was $162. It almost doubled in those 17 years,” Barrett claimed.
“In the same period, we have gotten a reduction in the actual dollars we receive from the state of Wisconsin to pay for things like the police department and fire department.”
When it comes to restaurants and bars in Milwaukee operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Barrett says one side has been doing all of the heavy lifting.
“What I’m seeing in our city is I’m seeing the restaurants, by and large, are really working closely with our health department. We’ve got this checklist and they can get approved and it’s really a quality approach to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis,” Barrett said.
“I am not seeing the same attentiveness from many bars. That is very much a concern of mine,” Barrett said.
“I’ll put it bluntly. They’re going to screw it up for themselves and they’re going to screw it up for everyone else if they don’t start doing more social distancing, if their workers are not taking precautions that are necessary,” Barrett said.
“Look, we need you to be swimming with us. We all need to be swimming in the same direction. And if you’re not, you could be hurting yourself and you could be hurting other people as well.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was a guest on WTMJ 2021.