Alderman argue over public safety at Thursday meeting

Will more police officers solve the problem?
Posted at 11:08 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 00:09:03-05
MILWAUKEE -- A firestorm erupted Thursday between Milwaukee aldermen over the best way to keep people safe. It was all sparked by a letter from some of the south side aldermen calling for more cops for their area.
At a town hall meeting Thursday night, Alderman Bob Donovan's constituents got to bring up their concerns. Some said road rage, prostitution and mobile drug dealing were all problems. 
"The cars will up and they'll do their deals and get back in and take off," said Christine McGinnis who has called the south side home for more than 30 years.
Donovan said that is only the start of the complaints. He and Alderman Mark Borkowski, Alderman Tony Zielinski and Alderman José G. Pérez wrote a letter to Police Chief Ed Flynn calling for more officers in Districts Two and Six.
"Given the challenges our districts are facing, we feel the staffing level are short," Donovan said.
Those calls upset Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, who said the aldermen just decided on a new comprehensive policing strategy and they are undermining it.
"That's what we have done in the budget. That is what the police department said they were going to commit themselves to in the next year, let's see how that works," Hamilton said.
Even some south side residents are not sure more police will solve their problems.
"I feel like the whole city has a lot of needs and I think there is a lot more violent crime on the north side," said resident Justin Bielinski.
"If I'm only turning them in and nobody else is doing that, what good is more officers going to do?" McGinnis said.
Hamilton worries other areas of the city will suffer if the south side gets more officers. But Donovan said something has to give.
"I don't care where he gets them from we just need more police down here to create a level of order and stability otherwise it won't be long and indeed we will be seeing the same problems in these neighborhoods in sadly other parts of Milwaukee," Donovan said.
Hamilton has called on the aldermen to rescind their letter and work with Milwaukee police command staff to address issues in their districts.