Finance, Personnel Committee passes proposed budget amendment to pay for new police recruits using tax dollars
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- Milwaukee's Finance and Personnel Committee voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for the proposed 195 additional police recruits.
Mayor Tom Barrett wanted to use COVID relief funds from the federal government.
"This is the council listening to the vast majority of people in the city of Milwaukee," Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said.
The Milwaukee Police Department is losing 25 officers in 2022. The 195 new officers, spread out between three upcoming recruit classes, will help the department maintain personnel.
"People expect and deserve a police response. They don't want to wait for an hour or more, to be on the phone waiting for an hour or more to get a response when they desperately need someone to help them with public safety concerns," Johnson said.
Johnson's intention for the amendment is to maintain the strength and services of the Milwaukee police force.
"Making sure that we don't allow our sworn strength of officers to creep too far low," Johnson said.
2020 was the deadliest year in city history. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said the city is on track to break its homicide record again.
"That's unacceptable," Johnson said. "It's totally unacceptable."
The committee recognized this won't be an immediate fix to the rising violence issue.
"How do we address this problem in a way that we're never back here again with a record level of violence that we're seeing? Cops alone is not going to do that," District 6 Alderwoman Milele Coggs said.
The budget is expected to be adopted at the next Common Council meeting on Nov. 5.