MILWAUKEE -- There was a parade on the Fourth of July in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood -- as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett responded to accusations that he was "clueless" about how to solve problems in the park long-term.
Neighbors told FOX6 News there has been an increased police presence in Sherman Park since Wednesday night, June 29th when police and deputies responded to the park in riot gear, after young people were apparently throwing rocks and bottles -- damaging the window of a nearby BP gas station and the window of a Milwaukee County Transit System bus.
Asked on Monday, July 4th if he would seek to add officers citywide, Mayor Barrett would only promise there won't be a reduction.
On the Fourth of July holiday, neighbors paraded to Sherman Park to celebrate the nation's independence.
"I think it was beautiful and it gives people a different perspective on Sherman Park after what happened last week," Afrika Hamilton, a high school student said.
Hamilton and Sydnee Roby said they want their neighborhood to look more like it did on Monday -- not like it did last week.
On June 29th, police in riot gear came out to break up a group of young people. One person threw rocks at an officer. Someone smashed the window of a passing MCTS bus and the window at the nearby BP gas station.
Since then, according to neighbors..."the police presence has been exactly where it always should've been," Wendy Hamilton said.
But will that be temporary, or long-term?
Mayor Barrett stopped at the park during Monday's Fourth of July celebration with a commitment.
"Regardless of what happens, we`re going to make sure people can use this park," Barrett said.
Barrett is criticizing Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke for not doing enough to patrol the Milwaukee County-run park. Late last week, Sheriff Clarke said there aren't enough resources. He said Milwaukee needs 400 more officers and 200 more deputies.
"If they don`t want to hire enough officers, they should just say it," Clarke said.
On Monday, Barrett said he has not finalized his spending plan for police staffing for the next city budget.
"We`re certainly not going to be reducing (the current level of force). There will be a question as we move forward of resources," Barrett said.
The problem, Sheriff Clarke says, isn't the park, but the surrounding neighborhoods.
Barrett said he and the sheriff haven't talked privately since trading public barbs last week.