Alders examine Milwaukee police satisfaction survey, showing growing dissatisfaction, desire for more police visibility

NOW: Alders examine Milwaukee police satisfaction survey, showing growing dissatisfaction, desire for more police visibility

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee leaders want to know how the city's police department is responding to findings of a survey of residents that found growing dissatisfaction, increased concerns over safety and a desire for officer visibility.

The City of Milwaukee Police Satisfaction Study 2022 Findings Report was conducted in the fall of last year. The report and its findings were initially presented in March at a Fire and Police Commission meeting.

At a Public Safety and Health Committee meeting April 27, alders asked officials from the FPC and the Milwaukee Police Department about the findings and the response to it.

Among the findings, 36 respondents said they were not very or not at all satisfied with MPD, an increase from 21% in 2019.

"So, tell me, what has the [Milwaukee Police] department done to make changes to change these numbers?" Ald. Mark Borkowski asked representatives of FPC and MPD at the meeting.

Leon Todd, the FPC executive director listed a number of initiatives from police, including efforts to ramp up traffic safety, addressing officer compassion and fatigue and other issues.

"They've really had a new focus on community engagement, community-oriented policing," Todd said. "They also recently released their strategic plan as it relates to violent crime."

While satisfaction with the department is down, 91% of people surveyed said they want police to be more visible in their neighborhoods.

The survey also found 85% of people said they are 'very concerned' about reckless driving, an increase in dissatisfaction with the 911 call system and more people saying they feel 'not very' or 'not at all' safe in their neighborhoods.

"The Milwaukee Police Department does not take these survey results lightly," MPD Chief of Staff Heather Hough told committee members.

Hough said the department will work on and deliver a formal response to the survey's results in the near future, but noted MPD is constantly working to address community concerns, including through the use of meetings with residents and taking that input to spark new efforts.

"The results and what we've done so far, you know there's going to be ongoing steps and ongoing initiatives to continue to address the survey results because much of the work that we did was already in progress," Hough said.

Alderman Michael Murphy told CBS 58 he hopes the survey's findings can lead to improved results in the future.

"The reason I instituted this survey many years ago was because a $300 million budget, and we don't even ask our customers what they feel about the services?" Ald. Murphy said. "So, I'm hopeful the tool will be used by both the Fire and Police Commission and the city to assist us in making changes."

Murphy also highlighted how the city is working within budgetary constraints and that impact on trying to address the survey's findings. For example, while residents in the survey said they want more police visibility in neighborhoods, the department has seen cuts in the number of officers since 2019, adding another hurdle to address the concern.

You can read the full survey, its methodology and findings here:

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