From the editor’s desk
Back on July 2, 2011 the Courier ran a lead article that read, ‘Bus drivers are fed up with physical attacks’, and the photo used for the article was from a rally held by Milwaukee County Transit bus drivers with representatives from their unions.
One of their complaints was the lack of support that they say they were receiving from the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS). Bus drivers were being fired and suspended for attempting to defend themselves in anyway from robberies and assaults from unruly passengers. At the same press conference the drivers spoke on how ineffective the private security firm hired for $1 million was. “They are like rent a cops”. They called out to Sheriff Clarke for help.
In an interview with Sheriff Clarke, he voiced his concern as well for the safety of the drivers and innocent passengers. He further explained back then that it was up to MCTS to make the request for the Sheriff’s Department to be more involved with preventive measures toward safety. The position that MCTS presented to Clarke and the general public was that the bus drivers were over-exaggerating and that they had the potential problem under control with their private security firm. They refused to acknowledge that there was a safety issue.
Well, what are they saying now? Well, the public at this point does not care what MCTS is saying…they want action… and now everyone is looking to Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn and Sheriff David Clarke. Clarke was vocal then and he still is. Just like he stated in July and even before that, he is not into quick fixes, or just reaction to what is going on now, he wants longterm solutions. Preventive and consistent measures in place.
Common Council president Willie Hines has weighed in now as well. Hines is encouraging Chairman Holloway to immediately end the contract the county currently has with a private firm to provide security on county buses. In the letter, Hines suggests a city-county memorandum of understanding whereby Milwaukee police officers could help ensure security on county buses. It is possible such an agreement could involve compensation to the city — much like city agreements authorizing MPD officers to provide security at Miller Park and during events at the Bradley Center.
“When it comes to ensuring the safety and security of our residents, I believe jurisdictional and municipal boundaries are irrelevant. In my opinion, I do not believe that taxpayers are necessarily concerned about where funding for bus security comes from, only that those funds be spent wisely and with the best outcome in mind,” Hines said. “I believe that Milwaukee police officers would step up quickly and restore safety and security on our buses.”
Chevy Johnson, candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisor, district 5 released a statement saying that Chief Flynn and Sheriff Clarke should stop taking shots as each other and find a solution.
Now, all of this attention is good don’t get me wrong, but where were all of these ideas and solutions when Milwaukee Transit bus drivers were begging for help and saying that they were fed up with the bus violence and lack of support from their employer MCTS? Why should it take back to back videos showing people out of control and innocent people being in the crossfire of fights? Next it will be shootings. We need to stop always reacting and start being preventive.