By Mrinal Gokhale
It is well known that Milwaukee’s homicide rate has been skyrocketing over the past two years, and there have been many discussions on possible solutions. On Mon, Jun 26 at 7 pm, the Community Coalition for Quality Policing had a town hall meeting on how community and problem oriented policing can help reduce neighborhood violence.
The meeting was held at the Black Historical Society (2620 W. Center St.) with featured speaker Michael S. Scott of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Inc. and clinical professor at University of Wisconsin Madison Law School.
“Community policing was originally a relatively simple idea. It was to try to restore some relationship with police and historically underserved or underprivileged communities,” he said. “But the problem is that it’s not just enough to get along, but we also have to get along with the purpose to make society safer.”
He also stated that problem oriented policing comes with three components: crime data analysis, community partnerships and neighborhood knowledge. He explained that the problem oriented policing model was used in Cincinnati from 1994 to 2014 with good results.
Police Chief Edward Flynn also sat on the panel and discussed how the philosophy of community oriented policing emphasizes neighborhood involvement. He stated that research proves that the most violent neighborhoods in any city are “socially the most vulnerable and disorganized.”
“Police have to develop partnerships with effective communities. Their fundamental role is to strengthen communities so that they act in their own interests,” he said. “Police must work with neighborhoods to identify their long-term systemic problems.”
The discussion eventually led to a debate about whether Wisconsin’s concealed carry law may be a culprit to Milwaukee violence.
Flynn stated that although he is forbidden by law to discuss how many people he has arrested who have concealed carry permits, he feels the law is “irresponsible.” He
Mike Crivello, president of Milwaukee Police Association, also sat on the panel and was disconcerted with Flynn’s opinion.
“I’ve never had a conversation with you chief, relative to displaying we are arresting an overwhelming amount of people or even one, who has committed a crime with a concealed carry permit,” he said.
In the end, Flynn stated that it is “up to neighbors” to help solve neighborhood violence issues, rather than just police officers.
Reggie Moore, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention, emphasized the importance of addressing the root cause of violence from a public health perspective.
“The thing that public health believes is that violence is learned, transmitted and is preventable,” he said. “We cannot rely on law enforcement alone, so I agree with the chief and that the community has to be a part of that solution.”
He also said that the Office of Violence Prevention has written a draft of a blueprint on steps they plan to take to reduce city violence. Attendees received a copy on this night, but it will officially be released later this summer.
Visit http://www.cc4qp.org to learn more about the Community Coalition for Quality Policing.