MILWAUKEE- Expect to see more police down near Fiserv Forum when the Bucks begin their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night.
After several businesses owners along Water Street spoke out against the rise in fights and incidents of reckless driving in the popular bar district, the Mayor said all options are on the table.
“This is an issue where I’ve been working closely with city leaders to make sure the city is safe,” Mayor Tom Barrett said Tuesday afternoon.
There were 62 traffic citations, 42 vehicles towed, and 8 municipal citations issued over the weekend.
“The suggestion’s been made to close off streets and we’ve taken some actions in that area,” Barrett said. “This is very much on our front-burner.”
In a statement Monday night the Milwaukee Police Department said it planned on increasing its presence in and around Fiserv Forum for the remainder of the Bucks playoff run.
“The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) is prepared and working collaboratively with the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee Health Department and the Department of Public Works to provide a safe and secure Deer District. During the playoffs, MPD will have additional resources which include but are not limited to, members of the Motorcycle Unit, Hazardous Devices Unit, K9 Unit and Mounted Patrol. MPD shares the excitement that comes with playoff basketball; however, criminal activity will not be tolerated. MPD wishes the Milwaukee Bucks the best of luck as they compete for the championship.”
In response to business owners asking for more police on Water Street permanently, Barrett said it was easier said than done, citing budget concerns and placing the blame on the state legislature.
“As I’ve pleaded with the legislature to give us resources so we didn’t’ have to make the cuts we’ve made to the police department. This last budget I explained to them that if we didn’t have the funding there would be a reduction in the police department, and that’s what happened. That was a fiscal decision, not a philosophical decision.”
You can listen to the Mayor’s full comments regarding violence on Water Street below.