By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this week, Milwaukee Police Officer Kou Her was driving home from work. While crossing the intersection, an oncoming car sped through the red light and struck Her’s vehicle, Fox 6 News reported.
The ensuing impact killed Her.
According to the Journal Sentinel, police later arrested Dante James for homicide caused by intoxication while driving. Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, said that James had been convicted with four OWIs prior to the incident, the Journal reported.
“We see the suspect had a history of reckless driving and are deeply saddened that he chose to drive in this manner once again,” said Mayor Tom Barrett during a press conference.
Ald. Bob Donovan and Ald. Mark Borkowski held a press conference on Wednesday, June 19, and demanded that Barrett create a plan to combat the growing issue.
“Driving in the City of Milwaukee has become increasingly dangerous,” Donovan said, this is especially true in certain neighborhoods.
Speeding, reckless driving and red-light running have become the norm in this community and it must end, he said.
“Enough is enough,” said Borkowski. “We’re going to have to start doing bold things that are not going to make us popular.”
Barrett acknowledged that reckless driving has become more common in Milwaukee. Many residents have seen it or have experienced the impact of reckless driving themselves, he said.
People ignore stoplights, or they choose to speed down the streets regardless of pedestrians and other vehicles.
“This is unacceptable behavior and the law says this is unacceptable,” Barrett said.
Barrett said that the Milwaukee Police Department and Ald. Michael Murphy are both committed to reducing reckless driving and ensuring that Milwaukee’s streets are safe.
On May 1, Morales announced the Reckless Driving Reduction Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to combat reckless driving, with the idea that failure to slow down could result in getting pulled over.
One of the initial solutions was the use of red-light cameras, which take pictures of vehicles speeding through a red light over a specific speed. Through the photos, drivers could be automatically ticketed.
However, this idea was criticized for being a revenue maker.
Barrett said that right now, his number one concern is to ensure that the streets are a safe place for everyone.
In addition to the work being done on a legislative level, Barrett said community members need to raise the issue. Part of increase in reckless driving is people’s behaviors. In the case of James, he was intoxicated in other cases teenagers or young adults are taking a car out for a joy ride.
Community members can help combat the issue by having conversations and discussions at homes and in social environments like bars, Barrett said. People need to understand the dangers of reckless driving.