Milwaukee’s underreporting of crime is now an issue between candidates in the June 5 recall election of Gov. Scott Walker. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Walker joined state and city officials in calling for an independent audit of Milwaukee police crime data after the Journal Sentinel found more than 500 serious assaults that were misclassified by the department as lesser offenses. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, his opponent, said any flaws found in the Police Department’s crime numbers should be revised.
Walker said, “If the mayor believes in the past or at least believed a drop in the violent crime rate is an example of his leadership, it is a legitimate question, now that we know that violent crime went up, we should also be able to question whether that is an example of failed leadership in the City of Milwaukee.” Walker spoke at the headquarters of the Milwaukee Police Association, the 1,700-member union that endorsed Walker for governor in the recall election. Barrett decried efforts to politicize the issue. “Shame on Gov. Walker if he impugns the integrity of the beat cops of the Milwaukee Police Department, because these are men and women who put their lives on the line every single day,” he said. “And if they filled out those forms incorrectly we will fix them, and will be transparent in doing so.”