Milwaukee police are responding to high-priority service calls three minutes faster now that the department requires that burglar alarms be verified before sending a squad, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Assistant Police Chief Joseph Whiten told the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee that the department is responding to 2,000 fewer calls a month since the policy went into effect in September. Before the change, the department’s “priority one” calls were taking about five minutes to answer.
Chief Nannette Hegerty made Milwaukee the first city east of the Mississippi River to adopt the policy. She said 98 percent of burglar alarms reported to the department turned out to be false, costing the department $1.2 million a year in wasted officer time. Alderman Tony Zielinski, a critic of the policy change, pressed his idea to charge the 50,000 alarm holders $70 apiece a year for police response, covering the $1.2 million spent on false alarms and generating another $2.3 million, which could help fill the department’s 174 vacancies.