MILWAUKEE — Sherman Park has become a common location for Milwaukee law enforcement to respond to reports of gun violence. After a teenager was killed in the park on Tuesday, a press conference was called there to address how to stop gun violence.
Attendees of the conference were hoping to see a plan for change in the community. WTMJ spoke with Laporche Kimber and Tasia, who did not provide a last name, who each hoped to see a change in how violence is addressed.
Laporche runs a support group for children experiencing danger or loss from violence. She says she sees herself as a voice for Black mothers.
“As a mother trying to raise a black son in a very violent community, we have to put in a lot of work to raise our children.”
Laporche’s assessment is concurrent with findings from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office. In data released by the Sheriff’s Office, the largest number of incidents involving serious/violent activity in the past two years was five calls in April 2021 and nine calls in August 2022.
In stark contrast, to date in July there has already been a total of 39 serious/violent calls for service. Tasia and Charlie came with signs advocating their wishes for local authorities in Milwaukee.
Among the first to speak at the press conference were Sheriff Denita Ball, Police Chief Jeffrey Norman and District 7 County Board Executive Felesia Martin. The common theme among the speakers was a need for parents to be involved in their child’s life, especially if their child is exposed to gang violence. They expressed their commitment to keeping youth in Milwaukee safe, but shared the sentiment that ‘it starts at home’.
Chief Norman reminded the crowd that a safe community cannot be achieved by first responders alone.
“Public safety is all of our responsibility. We are saying we need you, we need all of you.”
Supervisor Martin highlighted how much Sherman Park and the surrounding neighborhood has changed in the last few decades, and what families can be doing to prevent violence.
“This is the park where I grew up in, but it is very different than 25 years ago… Social media is affecting our youth… A critical piece that I see missing is our faith based organizations,” Supervisor Martin said. “Do not worry about what I’m gonna do, worry about what parents are doing.”
James Burnett, Director of Public Relations for the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, spoke about the app Atlas One toward the end of the conference. It allows citizens to make anonymous tips about crime, even if they just suspect something.
Burnett said it is available for all smart phones and has the potential to help authorities stay on top of threats.
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