The Milwaukee Police Department may stop sending officers to certain low-priority calls as the department contends with a spike in violent crime, especially shootings, Police Chief Nannette Hegerty told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Hegerty said shootings are up this year. “I am not going to sugarcoat what we experiencing,” she said. “It is having an adverse effect on the community and our ability to police it. It is being experienced nationwide. It is something we need to look at and look at seriously.”
The Journal Sentinel reported this week that about 600 people a year are struck by gunfire in Milwaukee and survive. The median response time on “priority four” calls such as loud music is about 45 minutes, but the longest wait was nearly 12 hours, Hegerty said. She convened a study group on response time that had been in the works and met for the first time Monday. Several officials said they were shocked by the number of shootings each year and called for efforts to tackle the problem, while acknowledging the task isn’t new and won’t be easy. The first step is letting people know how bad it is, said John Chisholm, who was elected last week as district attorney. “I hope these numbers make people uncomfortable, because it’s pretty damn uncomfortable to get shot,” he said. Chisholm said he will overhaul the office to better track shootings and ensure that prosecutors share information about perpetrators.