Interim Milwaukee Police Chief speaks with residents about community concerns
Just over one week into interim Milwaukee Police Chief Morales' term, he spent Monday evening speaking to residents.
The Milwaukee District 6 caption said the biggest problem they experience is auto theft and carjackings. The chief said if neighbors are concerned so is he.
"When you're saying, 'I have crisis in my neighborhood,' or, 'this is a problem,' as little as entry into autos which is something you see here to another area of the city where there may be gun violence, it's all equally important because it's important to you," said Morales.
The interim chief listened and promised change inside the Bay View High School auditorium Monday. He was there as a part of Alderman Zielinski's district 14 Public Safety meeting.
A big question was in regards to the number of patrols in the area.
"I was told today that there's only one or two squads patrolling the Bay View area. Can we get more squads in this area for patrols, sir?" said one neighbor to the chief.
Chief Morales admits there's room for improvement at the Milwaukee Police Department.
"We don't have the officers we used to have to send them everywhere... piece by piece by piece we hope to get more officers out to the district," said Chief Morales.
In the last week, the chief says he's freed up 60 officers from headquarters to move to one of the community district. His short-term goal is 100 officers on the streets by the end of summer. His long-term goal is to move to a community-oriented policing system, using something they call, 'squads' or 'beats.' He says MPD did away with the idea about 10 years ago.
"The beats were small enough where that police officer knew that neighborhood. They knew the people and they knew the problem houses. They even knew the names of the couple that would constantly call the police for your Friday night argument. That's important because when you as an officer know the problems in the neighborhood it helps you make better, informed decisions," said Morales.
Residents with concerns say the chief's vision is a start.
"I don't know much about the new police chief, but I do believe any new, fresh ideas are worth a listen," said a neighbor.