The Milwaukee Common Council delayed release yesterday of a public safety plan that calls for dramatic increases in law enforcement personnel, more time behind bars for offenders and so-called boot camps for at-risk youths, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Several officials acknowledged privately they were incredulous and disturbed by the proposals after violent unrest in the city this month.
The report is the result of an effort by the council’s Public Safety Committee, which summoned area law enforcement, corrections officials, prosecutors, judges and youth advocates to a series of special meetings about crime after seeing increases in homicides and nonfatal shootings last year.
Committee chairman Bob Donovan said, “I’m certain that if it were implemented, it will improve safety.” He said the fate of the report was now in the hands of Council President Ashanti Hamilton. Among the recommendations: Hiring 280 more police officers over the next two years, in addition to an ongoing recruitment to replace an expected surge in retirements, bolstering detective ranks, re-evaluating the police pursuit policy, and “drastically reducing” the use of electronic monitoring for both juveniles and adults. The report favors keeping those who have been arrested for “serious crimes,” including juveniles, in custody until their case is resolved.
“There are no easy answers as to what is causing crime to spiral upward in Milwaukee,” the report says. “The societal underpinnings of crime and poverty are issues we need to discuss, debate and bring forward into our daily consciousness; this plan is not that venue.”