MILWAUKEE — Attorney General William Barr announced a new initiative Wednesday to reduce violent crime in seven cities including Milwaukee. $71 million worth of resources will be spread out among Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City and Memphis.
Barr said it will be a two-pronged approach. First, more federal agents will be in Milwaukee searching for violent criminals. Secondly, Milwaukee police will have more funds for officers, overtime and new technology.
Milwaukee's most notorious gangs, drug traffickers, murderers and violent offenders take notice, Barr says 'Operation Relentless Pursuit' is after them.
"First, we're going to be increasing federal agents, analysts, and equipment initially into a group of 7 cities throughout the country," Barr said.
Barr said Milwaukee is one of those cities because its violent crime rate is four times the national average. U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger says the funding couldn't come at a better time for Milwaukee.
"We've heard about the budgets in the Milwaukee Police Department, a reduction in the number of officers and that's very concerning given the rates of violent crime," he said.
Krueger stood among representatives from the key agencies of the U.S. Department of Justice including the FBI, U.S. Marshals, the Drug Enforcement Administration and firearms investigators. All of which will have additional agents in Milwaukee looking for the city's most dangerous criminals.
"We know that most violent crime is committed by a relatively small number of individuals," Krueger said.
Krueger said Milwaukee's biggest violent crime issue is shootings, but Milwaukee police say non-fatal shootings are declining. As of this date last year, there were 460 non-fatal shootings compared to 430 in 2019 to date. Murder rates are also trending downward, but Krueger believes there's a long way to go to make our community safe.
He said millions of dollars in federal funds to support Milwaukee police will help the cause.
"This will include the direct funding of police officers that will be able to back fill task force officers also other needs of these task forces, equipment, overtime," he said.
Krueger said Milwaukee has yet to learn how many agents and how much money the city will be given, however if it ends up being an even split between the seven cities picked, Milwaukee stands to gain about $10 million and more than 50 federal agents.