MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Common Council's Public Safety Committee heard comments on Monday morning from local organizations hoping to see crime reduced across the city.
The meeting followed a series of others held during the summer, in which committee members met with public safety officials like the police chief, the sheriff, and the district attorney regarding how best to cut crime in our area.
"None of us are satisfied with the level of safety in Milwaukee," said Alderman Bob Donovan, chair of the committee.
The Public Safety Committee previously released a proposed action plan to improve safety in Milwaukee. You can view it here.
Some speakers who addressed the committee Monday said they question the emphasis the proposal puts on increasing the staffing of the Milwaukee Police Department.
Patricia McManus, the president and CEO of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, said city officials must do a better job of viewing public safety as a health issue.
She also said she doesn't believe extra resources should be diverted to MPD without also providing more funding and programs to Milwaukee's central city.
"Stop telling us that all the happenings downtown will eventually, one day, trickle into our lives," McManus said. "We're tired of waiting."
R.L. McNeely, representing the Felmers O. Chaney Advocacy Board, said he applauded MPD for its recent class of 14 community service officers who graduated from a five-week training course at the police academy.
But McNeely said more can be done to build trust between officers and the communities they patrol.
"You must give the police, all of them, an opportunity to work with neighborhood residents in solving some of the reasons for crime in those neighborhoods," McNeely said.
Theresa Granderson-Hunter, a lifelong resident of Milwaukee's 53206 zip code, said crime in her neighborhood around 15th and Atkinson has worsened in the last decade or so.
Over the weekend, a man was found shot dead a couple of blocks away -- near 13th and Atkinson.
"It's not surprising," Granderson-Hunter said. "You shouldn't have to live in fear. But these are the times we're living in."
She said she'd like police to place a heavy emphasis on enforcing curfews for local youth.
Granderson-Hunter added parents have a responsibility to make sure their children are at school, and inside, at home, after dark.
"The blame has to be on the parents," she said. "You have to supervise your children at all times because at the end of the day they're your responsibility."
In regards to police-community relations in Milwaukee, a Milwaukee police spokesperson said it’s important the community is provided an opportunity to share their perspective on the Public Safety Action Plan as part of a collaborative process to develop strategies to improve safety in Milwaukee.