Gov. Evers directs $2.2 million to Milwaukee for violence prevention

NOW: Gov. Evers directs $2.2 million to Milwaukee for violence prevention

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A new investment from Gov. Tony Evers is aimed at helping Milwaukee prevent violence this summer.

Evers is directing $2.2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the city of Milwaukee to immediately help the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) address crime, according to a press release.

“Every family and every kid deserves safe communities to live, work, learn, and play in, and that includes the city of Milwaukee,” Evers said. “Violence is never the answer, and I am hopeful that today's investment, paired with the more than $100 million investments we have made already, will give the city of Milwaukee some additional tools to curb crime and keep folks safe.”

The Governor's Office said the funding will help MPD hire civilian contractors to manage crime fighting tools, which will allow the department to shift staffing resources to other pressing needs. The funding will help MPD purchase new equipment, including forensic workstations, night vision devices, air tanks, and a device that provides instant, on-scene ballistics analysis.

"Every little bit helps," Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said.

The funding will also help pay officers for working overtime this summer, according to a press release.

"Help is coming, but yeah it's going to be a challenge this summer, but I'm out there too. So, I understand it's all hands on deck right now," Norman said.

The city plans to install a security fence that can be remotely raised and lowered in the downtown entertainment district on weekends and during events.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson said they aren't sure how the fence will work quite yet, but the hope is that it will curb reckless driving and create pedestrian-only zones. 

"We want to be safe. I mean, you think about other communities across the country that have employed similar measures to make sure their downtown areas, their entertainment districts are safe, and that's exactly what we're exploring here in Milwaukee," Johnson said.

Johnson said this additional investment comes after conversations with Evers about what the state can do to help make Milwaukee safer after multiple shootings on Friday, May 13.

"The investments, I think, are key, and they are timely," Johnson said.

Johnson said there isn't a timeline on when the funding will come through, as of Monday afternoon.

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