Milwaukee police union blames falling officer numbers for Water Street chaos
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Crowds have caused problems on Water Street the last two weeks.
Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said they've caused the same problems that once plagued the Midtown Center and can be solved.
However, Milwaukee's police union released a letter Wednesday, June 23, blaming Water Street's problems directly on a lack of cops.
"We've had a lot of success shutting down that activity at Midtown and now they've migrated down here," said Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.
Midtown's violence peaked in early May with a barrage of gunfire. Three-hundred rounds were shot during a large gathering, injuring two people. In response, the city put up more solid barriers to keep people out. Johnson said it worked and is a solution the city needs to consider on Water Street. He said the state will not provide more money to hire more officers.
"Unless they give us the shared revenue that they have not been giving us for the past nearly 20 years, we're going to continue to be in a position where it's difficult to maintain police levels of strength," said Johnson.
The Milwaukee Police Association blames falling officer numbers for growing violence across the city.
It said 68 officers will have retired by the end of this year. The city cut 120 positions out of the budget.
Milwaukee Police Association also said crime in the city is on the rise, stating as of Tuesday, crime in the city is up 45%. The police union also said the crime number is above the historical homicide rate of 2020. Milwaukee Police Association said homicides are up 1%, rapes are up 24%, robberies up 21%, thefts up 42%, and motor vehicle thefts are up 194%.
Union President Dale Bormann Jr. wrote: "It's time for the city to hire more officers to combat these issues on Water Street and everywhere in the city."
Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman said the department is doing its best.
"We are utilizing resources in the best way, in the most effective and efficient manner for the safety of our city," said Norman.
He said police will continue to be visible on Water Street.
"There is a lot of different areas that we have to be patrolling and a lot of times it's trying to be in the right place at the right moment," said Norman.
Police issued 70 citations and towed 42 cars over the weekend.
More officers and units will be patrolling the Deer District during the playoffs.
The full statement can be read below: