“It’s helped immensely:” More surveillance cameras coming to Milwaukee’s south side, thanks to Potawatomi

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MILWAUKEE -- More surveillance cameras are popping up on Milwaukee's south side, thanks to a big donation from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

The program called "Operation Impact" involves funding surveillance cameras, alley lighting, a mobile neighborhood nuisance abatement vehicle, and additional MPD bicycle and foot patrol officers in south side neighborhoods.

A $45,000 grant means more cameras will be added, bringing peace of mind to some living on Milwaukee's south side.

Surveillance camera outside Wild Flour Bakery on Milwaukee's south side

Surveillance camera outside Wild Flour Bakery on Milwaukee's south side

"They`re concerned about their safety. The cameras help," Greg Mertens with Wild Flour Bakery said.

Greg Mertens

Greg Mertens

Surveillance cameras were installed outside Wild Flour Bakery near 28th and Lincoln several years ago as part of Operation Impact -- a public-private partnership that involves extra surveillance and police presence.

"If there is an incident, the cameras help with that," Mertens said.

City leaders said Operation Impact works.

"I think it`s helped immensely," Alderman Bob Donovan said.

In fact, the cameras outside the bakery captured a crime several years ago.

Surveillance cameras outside Wild Flour Bakery on south side capture crime

"They had a police chase and it ended right in the alley," Alderman Donovan said.

Alderman Bob Donovan

Alderman Bob Donovan

"They caught somebody going down who abandoned the car right there. Police were about a half-block behind them. He went between the building, and then came out. 'What`s going on? I'm surprised to see you. Who dropped the car here?' They said 'you`re what`s going on. We got it on camera,'" Mertens said.

The surveillance footage is monitored by police.

South side residents said it's not an invasion of privacy.

"They want a safe neighborhood for their families and to shop, so it`s not an intrusion on them," Mertens said.

More cameras will be popping up within the next couple weeks.

Operation Impact

"It`s one more tool in the toolbox in helping our police do the best job they can, and that`s what it`s all about," Alderman Donovan said.

The Potawatomi Foundation will present the grant money to Alderman Donovan Thursday, January 19th. He said police are working to identify good locations for the new cameras.

Operation Impact


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