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Milwaukee Common Council votes to accept $10M federal grant to fund more police officers after initially rejecting it

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Posted at 10:30 AM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 13:17:34-05

The Milwaukee Common Council has voted to accept a nearly $10 million federal grant, more than a month after initially rejecting it.

The Common Council voted 9-6 on Tuesday to accept the federal $9.7 million COPS grant, which would fund 30 police officer positions for three years.

The council had initially rejected the grant back in December, citing various issues including police reform.

The vote came after 60 police positions were eliminated in the 2020 budget and 120 removed in the 2021 budget.

Before the grant, that left the Milwaukee Police Department with between 1,650 and 1,680 officers next year, according to reports from WPR and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The COPS grant had been passed in previous years but became controversial in concerns over police brutality facing the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.

On Tuesday, the council voted to accept the grant through a "substitute resolution" that has the Milwaukee Police Department "agreeing to step up service/performance efforts in several key areas."

Alderwoman Chantia Lewis voted in favor of the grant but said there needs to be compromise and a plan for the department and city going forward.

"We are caught in-between a rock and a hard place and we need to figure out what's best for the community as a whole," said Lewis.

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic stuck with her decision to reject the grant for a second time, citing she would rather address other ways to improve policing in Milwaukee.

"It feels as though if we take this, we are reinforcing a system that is already broken," said Dimitrijevic.

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