By Milwaukee Courier Staff
“There needs to be accountability for those who cause damage, harm, and death to members of our community.”
With these words, Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson reflected the feelings of most city residents in the wake of a brutal wave of murders and other crime through the first month of the year.
On consecutive days this past week, officers from the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office were shot in separate incidents. The weekend before, six murder victims were found in a house on North 21st Street and West Wright Street, across the street from where Johnson said he lived during fourth grade. And just two weeks ago, another Milwaukee officer was shot foiling a carjacking.
These shootings all take place against a backdrop of not only a continued rise in shootings, but increased car thefts and break-ins as well.
Many are asking whether the anti-police rhetoric of ultra-liberal leaders like Sen. Chris Larson and Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic (who is a candidate in the mayoral race) is at least partly to blame. Others are critical of County Sheriff Earnell Lucas after he himself launched a campaign for Mayor without even finishing one term as sheriff.
The fact is that crime affects Black neighborhoods more than any other, and “progressives” cutting resources for law enforcement has led to increased wait times for service and a sense of lawlessness permeating our neighborhoods.
Johnson led the fight to add 30 police positions through a federal COPS grant, which Dimitrijevic voted against – twice. Johnson then proposed and won 195 new police positions in the latest city budget, finally halting the slide in the size of the force.
Johnson knows that enforcement and police alone won’t make us safer. He has proposed two separate public safety plans – one called STAND to address reckless driving specifically, and another comprehensive public safety strategy, which combines increased attention to law enforcement with more resources for crime prevention and a focus on neighborhood healing and interrupting violence.
These plans “are more than I’ve seen in 26 years” of working in law enforcement, said new Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman.
Norman is a homegrown success story who earned a law degree, worked in the district attorney’s office, and served as a patrol officer, a detective, and a police captain before becoming chief.
Johnson’s plans contrast with Dimitrijevic’s and Lucas’ plans, which are short and essentially a list of soundbites. The only other aldermanic candidate with any attention to detail on crime is former Ald. Bob Donovan, who dusted off a plan from 2016 and posted it to his campaign website.
Living and working in Milwaukee, we here at the Courier agree that public safety is issue number one, as Johnson has repeatedly said, and appreciate his leadership in these trying times. As you prepare to vote in this year’s Mayoral Special Election, think about what issues matter to you most.