Milwaukee Common Council votes to accept $9.7M grant for more police officers

NOW: Milwaukee Common Council votes to accept $9.7M grant for more police officers

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MILWAUKE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Common Council voted Tuesday, Jan. 19, to accept a $9.7 million federal "COPS" grant for police funding. This comes after the council rejected it last month. 

Tuesday's vote wasn't unanimous and there's a new condition the police department must adopt new strategies and report progress to the common council. 

The grant will allow the department to hire 30 new officers for three years. 

Some council members expressed their frustration saying accepting the grant reinforces a broken system.

“This is not a time we’re set up to succeed it’s a time to talk, re-envision and I’m sorry I don’t feel good doing that process after we take the money and we’re on the hook," said Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. 

Others were encouraged the department is willing to listen to the community and take their needs and wants into account.  

"There has been a tremendous amount of cooperation on behalf of Chief Jeffrey Norman and the entire command staff of the police department about embracing some of the reforms that we've discussed," said Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton.

"We got to have some real conversations about policing going forward," said Alderwoman Milele Coggs.

The common council's conditions include improving police response times, taking a proactive approach on crime reduction by participating in community activities, and creating a plan for more resources toward traffic enforcement. 

"I think most of us that grew up in the city understand that embracing the old way of policing, creates a chasm between certain members of our community, especially people of color in the black community in particular in law enforcement. There has to be a way of embracing the fact that you have to change the way that you police in our community," said Hamilton. 

Under the new condition, the Milwaukee Police Department is expected to report progress to the common council within the first 90 days of the grant. 

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