Milwaukee fire and police jobs on chopping block in city budget

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 08:00:57-04

Almost 160 Milwaukee police and firefighter positions could be on the chopping block.

Mayor Tom Barrett said it’s a possibility because of budget issues, but said he's doing everything he can to avoid making cuts a reality. 

Other Milwaukee leaders are angry at the thought of losing 84 police officers and 75 firefighters.

"It's reckless to throw those kind of numbers out there cause that's totally unreasonable," said Alderman Tony Zielinski.

The mayor hopes the cuts aren't necessary as he tries to balance the 2018 budget. 

Zielinski blamed the lack of funds on a project already underway without having a long-term plan to pay for it.

"The streetcar is going to infringe on future money and revenue for the city that should be diverted towards public safety and other services," Zielinski said.

The mayor said paying for the streetcar is years down the road. 

Barrett also said budget concerns in Milwaukee are a state funding issue. The mayor said he needs help convincing the state Milwaukee needs more money to work with.

Milwaukee Police Association President Mike Crivello said the department wouldn't be as effective with fewer officers.

"To even consider reducing us by another 84 people could be devastating to our ability to carry out our mission and that is to keep this community safe," Crivello said.

The Firefighter Union President Dave Seager said cuts would mean less equipment to assist on scene.

"Seventy-five cuts means that's actually five frontline pieces of equipment," Seager said.

Leaders fear fewer responders would compromise public safety.