Barrett, Abele unveil new parks policing plan

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Mayor Tom Barrett unveiled on Monday, September 24th, a new Parks Policing Plan. It’s the first major County/City initiative in more than a decade.

Under a negotiated agreement, the Milwaukee Police Department will formally assume policing duties in 2013 at County Parks in the city of Milwaukee. That includes the entire lakefront.

Milwaukee police will also handle cellular 911 calls made in the city of Milwaukee. That apparently eliminates the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office taking the calls and transferring them to Milwaukee.

Abele and Barrett say the agreement ensures the community will get better service in the Parks, the city will be compensated for their officers’ time in the Parks and the County will get increased transparency, save tax dollars and be assured that tax dollars allotted for Parks patrol are spent on Parks patrol.

The proposal calls for the Milwaukee Police Department to be paid $1.6 million in 2013. The agreement includes provisions that MPD will make a good faith effort to hire staff from the Sheriff’s Office that may have been laid off.

County Executive Abele is also proposing a $125,000 grant to be split among the suburban municipalities to recognize police services at County Parks they are already providing.

Abele says the proposal will hopefully save $250,000 for city of Milwaukee taxpayers.

Mayor Tom Barrett ran the idea before Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and many aldermen on Milwaukee’s Common Council. But County Executive Chris Abele did not do the same — and that’s becoming as big a story as the plan itself.

Marina Demitrijevic, the Chairwoman of the Milwaukee County Board, issued the following statement regarding this proposed plan: “While the County Executive claims this proposal is a good one and that we should all agree with his ideas, the County Board and the public have not had a chance to review it and to ensure that the plan does not diminish public safety or leave taxpayers holding the bag…We certainly hope today’s media announcement does not leave anyone with the impression that this proposal is a done deal.”

Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Willie Johnson, Jr. issued this statement on the matter: “I question if this is true collaboration when policy-makers are left out. I would like to see County Executive Abele take a page from Mayor Barrett’s book on building consensus. I question if this is true collaboration when policy-makers are left out. I would like to see County Executive Abele take a page from Mayor Barrett’s book on building consensus.”

This plan needs the approval of the Milwaukee County Board and the Milwaukee Common Council.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

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