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Decision 2022: Finding solutions to Milwaukee's wave of violent crime

Does Milwaukee need more money for police and prevention?
Posted at 6:58 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 19:58:08-05

Milwaukee's unprecedented wave of violence is likely to play out in the 2022 race for governor.

In his first TV interview since announcing his campaign, TMJ4's Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson asked Kevin Nicholson how he would curb Milwaukee violence.

"We've seen the dissolution of law and order in our state and across the nation to, but I want mandatory minimum bail, mandatory minimum sentencing for violent crimes and violent charges," said Nicholson.

The former Senate candidate in 2018 just launched his run for governor, but the violent crime issues facing Milwaukee are not new to him.

"If we look what's happening, officers getting shot, citizens being shot and killed and murdered, this needs to stop," said Nicholson. "That means taking the ball away from DA's like John Chisholm who keep releasing violent offenders so they can go out and harm more people."

Milwaukee leaders have said they don't have the money to meet all the city's police costs and it's about to get worse with a pension obligation that doubles next year.

Benson: If the mayor says to you, he or she needs more money for more police or police training, more police response, you will say?

Nicholson: I'd say the same thing. I'd say to state legislative leaders, which is let's go to your budget.

Several community leaders, including mayoral candidates, say Milwaukee needs more shared revenue dollars from the state or the option to raise the sales tax.

Nicholson sees a different option.

"So, what I would advise any mayor of Milwaukee is let's lower the taxes the tax burden for residents and for employers. So that you see the economy building and growing forward," said Nicholson. "Again, what else you do to make things attractive; you make law and order, you restore law and order and make it a safe place to live."

Republican Rebecca Kleefisch is also running for governor. Her campaign is calling for more officers.

"Any solution in Milwaukee must guarantee that all funding goes toward supporting more police officers," she said. "We need more officers on the ground, and that's why as governor I'll add 1,000 cops to our streets and surge state patrol to high crime areas."

Governor Tony Evers says the state is investing covid relief money to help reduce violent crime, stating $6.6 million will go to the Medical College of Wisconsin's Violence Prevention Project, another $8 million to Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention.

"So, violence prevention programs are absolutely critical to that answer. It won't be the only answer, but it is certainly one of them," said Governor Evers.

Governor Evers also supports allowing cities like Milwaukee to impose a new half-cent sales tax if local voters approve.

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