UPDATE: Chief responds to call for more police on streets

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by Matt Doyle

MILWAUKEE -- Alderman Bob Donovan wants Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to add 150 police positions to the 2015 budget.  He said the budget process starts next month so it's a perfect time. 

Donovan has routinely called for more officers.  Tuesday's demand comes after multiple shootings Monday on the north side. One person was killed.   In early August, Mayor Barrett did say there would be more officers out and about in august but Donovan says that hasn't been the case. Donovan stressed that people are sick and tired of the violence. 

He believes the demands for MPD are greater than the resources available.  Donovan says the violence gets frustrating.  He says if this was happening in a place like Brookfield - the National Guard would be called in.  Yet in Milwaukee it's no big deal. Donovan says he knows adding more officers isn't all you can do. 

"Without a doubt, the answer isn't just more cops," Alderman Bob Donovan said.  "We certainly need to reach out in every way possible to engage the public. But I know people and I know human nature, I've been working with the public for decades.  Long before I was an alderman, as a volunteer in community organizations, we've got to meet the public halfway."

Police Chief Ed Flynn issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

 
“We are not getting into a tactical argument with a candidate for mayor every time there’s a violent crime in Milwaukee, but oversimplified public statements require clarifying context and perspective.  Despite the misleading suppositions of some, placing a police officer on every street corner in every city will not stop crime.  There are no ideological or simple solutions to the complex social problems faced by police in America.
 
I’m sure that there are “police sources” who are disappointed in the amount of overtime they’re able to earn this summer.  This disappointment is a remnant of the way this Department mismanaged its overtime budget prior to 2008.  In 2007, for example, the Department overspent its overtime allocation by $5,000,000, or a 40% overrun. 
 
Overtime is not an open checkbook; it is a resource to supplement our operational work.  We have and continue to use our overtime funds to fight crime with data-driven deployments in neighborhoods characterized as “hot spots.”  All of our work – whether on overtime or straight-time – is based on intelligence and data.  Year-to-date, we have experienced a 1% increase in non-fatal shooting incidents and a 14% decrease in homicides. 
 
The City of Milwaukee has a problem with firearm violence.  This is not an issue of a few dozen more or a few dozen fewer police officers.  There are too many young men illegally carrying guns and using those guns to settle neighborhood disputes.  There are too many young men who believe that carrying and using a gun makes them a man.  We – as a community – need to change this narrative.
 
Strong and effective community policing tactics have an impact on crime in our City, and the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department remain committed to accomplishing our mission.”

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