MILWAUKEE – Even as an investigation is ongoing into how a Milwaukee Police Department employee messed up an application for a $15 million federal policing grant for 2024, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson isn’t deterred from his mission to expand the sworn ranks of Milwaukee fire and police
“If we had gotten awarded the grant, we probably wouldn’t have been able to implement it anyway because of the provisions in Act 12 which disincentivize us from applying for federal COPS grants,” Johnson said.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson joined WTMJ N.O.W. with Sandy Maxx and Steve Scaffidi on Tuesday, September 26, and broke down how the city’s priorities have changed as 2023 has unfolded.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson (@MayorOfMKE) joined WTMJ N.O.W.'s @sandymaxx and @WTMJSteve to discuss a number of things including the future of I-794 and the Office of Violence Prevention.— 620 WTMJ (@620wtmj) September 26, 2023
Listen to the whole conversation and show here: https://t.co/wsOUVd4yZQ pic.twitter.com/QsLuIr9OFQ
The application’s deadline was in mid-May – before Wisconsin Act 12 was enacted in June. While city officials are working to make sure this kind of mistake doesn’t happen again, Johnson said that the goal is to use city money, as he proposed in his budget, to hire more officers next year.
“We’ll call for three police classes of 65 – that’s the maximum amount of classes with the maximum amount of recruits that we’ll be able to train in the city of Milwaukee. in a given year,” Johnson said. “We are actively working to increase the number of police officers and firefighters in the city of Milwaukee.”
Any officers hired under the COPS grant, had Milwaukee applied correctly, would not have counted towards Act 12’s requirements for police and fire staffing in Milwaukee. With his proposed budget – and upcoming reelection campaign – Johnson is hoping to oversee a continuing overhaul of Milwaukee’s approach to public safety.
“It presents an opportunity with this new Office of Community Wellness and Safety to bring more partners together and to get funds out the door quicker so we can have a faster impact on issues around public safety in Milwaukee,” he said.
If approved, the current Office of Violence Prevention will be folded into the city’s Department of Administration and have an expanded mandate as part of the Office of Community Wellness and Safety.
Johnson also weighed in on the issue of pedestrian safety. The Brady Street Business Improvement District has released a letter calling for recent traffic calming measures on the street to be removed. Johnson, however, said that it’s too soon after installing them to consider changing back
“I think we probably need to take a beat and not turn around and uninstall what we just installed. Let’s see if we can get some traction first to slow down some of that traffic down there,” he said.
Johnson said he hasn’t spoken to the BID, but his priority remains keeping pedestrians safe on Brady Street and beyond. That includes the redevelopment of 794, but Johnson emphasized that the city is still in the listening phase of that project.
The Department of Transportation has worked over the last several months to get feedback from several interested parties, constituents all along the route here to get what their feedback is,” Johnson said. “I’m interested in continuing to explore what that looks like.”
Johnson said his goals remain to have streets in Milwaukee that are conducive to development and foster pedestrian safety.
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