MILWAUKEE -- A majority of Milwaukee aldermen on Thursday, June 2nd rolled out a series of actions they believe will make the city of Milwaukee safer. This, as a group of 37 cadets graduated from the Milwaukee Police Academy -- and joined the Milwaukee Police Department.
The aldermen noted that we will need many more graduates -- as more than 300 MPD officers will be eligible for retirement over the next year-and-a-half. That is one of three major goals outlined Thursday.
"The city of Milwaukee can have a better, safer summer," Ashanti Hamilton, Milwaukee Common Council president said.
Eleven of Milwaukee's 15 aldermen signed off on the three-part plan to prevent crime:
- Aldermen have called upon 500 fathers and "father-like" figures, along with enlisting 25 churches to adopt their blocks/neighborhoods.
- Improve communications and develop a joint strategy with city, county, and state agencies.
- Aldermen want to develop a plan to replace up to 331 MPD officers who will be eligible for retirement over the next 18 months.
"That is a huge and significant number. Now, certainly, I`m 99% sure not all of them are going to be retiring -- but I`m sure it is not reasonable to expect a significant number of them will retire and officers with 25 years of experience are not easily or quickly replaced," Alderman Bob Donovan said.
Donovan, the chair of the Public Safety Committee, says that committee will host special meetings during the month of June to improve partnerships with different city and state agencies.
Mike Crivello, President of the Milwaukee Police Association said looming officer retirements are a major concern, adding too many officers are unable to get time off when they request it.
"Many of these officers will retire when they can retire because there’s currently not a whole lot of incentive to stay," he said."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said his administration is well aware of the need to replace retiring officers. He commended the common council for offering a plan of its own.
"The more the merrier is my view. I don`t take any umbrage in it whatsoever. All hands on deck is my view, all hands on deck," Barrett said.
Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said they support this blueprint.
"The aldermen`s recommendations are all well and good. There`s not a single objectionable thing about them," Chief Flynn said.
The aldermen said replacing so many police officers will be a challenge, but something that can and will be done over time.
"I don`t think this will be a one-year deal to try to close this gap -- but we should start taking steps now to make sure it doesn`t widen in the future," Hamilton said.
CLICK HERE to read a letter from Milwaukee aldermen to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The aldermen said this initiative will truly kick off on June 17th.
"We’re asking for fathers, men, to step up and serve and protect our communities," said Dennis Walton from the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative.
At Moody Park, there will be a peace rally and the aldermen are calling on fathers and father-figures to show up and commit to serving their neighborhoods this summer.
Also on Thursday -- aldermen took up the topic of reckless driving in the city during the Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday morning.
Alderman Donovan said problems with speeding and disobeying traffic laws is a "universal concern" for every Common Council member.