Milwaukee Common Council revisits COPS Grant on Tuesday

NOW: Milwaukee Common Council revisits COPS Grant on Tuesday

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MILWAUKEE (CBS58)--It's a major federal grant expected to help the Milwaukee Police Department.

“The grant is pretty much black and white," alderwoman Nikiya Dodd said.

Dodd says there’s been miscommunication about the $9.7 million COPS grant. The Common Council denied it in December.

However, it plans to revisit the conversation this week. Community members have been demanding the Common Council to not accept the federal money, saying the Milwaukee Police Department is a major liability to the city. Last weekend, city activists sent that message during a rally to defund the police.

The grant will be used to hire 30 more officers for three years, requiring the city to keep the positions for a fourth year.

Dodd says there will be new expectations that the community may not know about just yet.

“By hiring these 30 officers it allows a new class of officers to come into the department and be trained in an appropriate manner where they can follow the rules, where they can be held accountable for their actions.” 

“If we are going to hold the public accountable for things we have to show ourselves to be accountable with each other starting with the chief, starting with the leadership, starting with the officers," Acting Milwaukee Police Chief Norman said.

 Norman met with community activists on Friday, Jan 15, outlining his plan to improve the department, calling it long-term commitments.

He mentions points like improving response times, banning chokeholds except in situations where an officer’s life is threatened and requiring a full report from an officer after firing his weapon.

“These are things we are committing and we’re putting it into writing, this is what we are expecting our police department to represent, commitments that we are expecting and not just lip service," Norman said.

 Dodd says the grant money will also give them wiggle room to do other business.

“If we do decide to accept the money, there could be an opportunity where we can have our lobbyists talk with the Department of Justice to be able to make the criteria more flexible to able to do some of the community work they’re asking for.”

The common council will meet on Tuesday, Jan19.


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