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Milwaukee mayoral candidates highlight plans to combat reckless driving

Posted at 6:35 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 19:35:02-05

MILWAUKEE — It's a dangerous and deadly problem Milwaukee has been fighting for years: reckless driving. The issue is already a top priority for the city's mayoral candidates.

Incoming acting mayor of Milwaukee and common council president Cavalier Johnson says he plans to curb the problem by designing safer streets, providing more resources to the police department, and holding reckless drivers accountable.

"Enough is enough. We will also deploy additional funds for more advanced automatic license plate reader video camera technology and enhance police enforcement and investigation resources," said Johnson.

In statements, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic says she would push to redesign roads making them narrower, and adding speed bumps.

Former alderman Bob Donovan said he would secure overtime funds to pay for enhanced traffic enforcement, impound vehicles driven recklessly, and allow for the immediate arrest of reckless drivers.

Businessman Michael Sampson said he would push for the return of Drivers Ed programs in schools, and increased traffic stops from police in what he calls problem areas.

Milwaukee Sheriff Earnell Lucas says the only thing that will stop reckless driving is if the community is willing to make a change.

"We have a lot of laws on the books that people just don't obey. It can't be led by government, it can't be led by law enforcement, it's got to be the will of the people and then we can get this job done," said Sheriff Lucas.

He says he would also work with automakers like Kia and Hyundai to find solutions for stolen cars.

Candidate Nick McVey says he wants to see the district attorney's office come down harder on reckless drivers.

Sheila Conley-Patterson says she was not available to speak Tuesday. Daniel Riemer did not respond to our interview request.

You can find full statements from mayoral candidates below:

Michael Sampson:
"I live off north avenue so I see reckless driving on a daily basis. Just last week I drove from Mayfair mall to MLK. I witnessed 3 instances of reckless driving on the way home. From what I am seeing, these aren’t young kids. These are 25-45-year-olds that believe they are above the law or do not care.

We need more pull overs from our MPD in problem areas. We need better presence from our Sheriffs department on trunk highways. The 2020 rate of pullovers from our Sheriffs department was down dramatically compared to 2019 and I’m interested to see what the 2021 numbers are.

The city of Wauwatosa has done a great job with the curb bump outs on north avenue but that needs to extend east to connect to the city of Milwaukee.

We need quicker response times from DPW. Just 2 weeks ago we had residents by Sherman park create their own traffic circle to slow cars down. Guess what, it worked. After getting some news DPW came the following day to give them better infrastructure.

We can blame the lack of drivers Ed during Covid because that was a crazy rule but we need to make sure that the program is back and running so teenagers learn to drive and respect the road.

Red light cameras at high traffic intersections would be helpful if we have the money to pay for them.

More speed bumps paid for by the city and not the residents as most landlords and home owners aren’t going to pay for these speed bumps but they are needed on certain streets to keep kids safe."

Bob Donovan:

"Milwaukee has deteriorated dramatically in the two years since I left aldermanic office—from reckless driving, record breaking homicides, and leading the nation in stolen vehicles, an atmosphere of lawlessness has been cultivated by wrong headed policies and a weak on criminals prosecutorial approach.

As a result, frequent dangerous criminal activity is spreading into Milwaukee’s suburbs.

Enough is enough—Milwaukee and its neighbors cannot prosper nor make their residents feel safe without the rule of law returning to our crime fighting arsenal.

I fought against crime and disorder throughout the 20 years I served as 8th District Alderman—I will keep fighting against crime when I am elected mayor.

Regarding reckless driving, as mayor I would take the following steps immediately:

1. Send a loud and clear message reckless driving will NOT be tolerated.

2. Reach out for county and state assistance to augment MPD enforcement.

3. Secure overtime funds to pay for enhanced traffic enforcement.

4. Allow for the towing and impound of vehicles driven recklessly and for the immediate arrest of reckless drivers.

Finally, as mayor I would demand our district attorneys, court commissioners, and judges take this life threatening issue seriously and hold these dangerous individuals accountable to the fullest extent of the law!"

Marina Dimitrijevic:

“As a mother, I’m appalled by the epidemic of reckless driving in our city. So many of our city’s reckless driving hotspots, from Sherman Park to Humboldt Park, are near busy playgrounds, libraries, and schools where our children learn and play. We cannot continue to put them in danger. As Mayor I’ll work tirelessly to combat reckless driving including eliminating red tape to expedite the process of redesigning Milwaukee’s roads, including narrowing roads and adding speed bumps, expanding free driver education courses at Milwaukee high schools, so that young people have access to proper training and guidance on the consequences of reckless driving, and by increasing enforcement of current traffic laws so that no one can drive dangerously on our streets with impunity.”

Sheila Conley-Patterson:

"As a candidate that is going to be the Mayor of Milwaukee. In order to curb the reckless driving there will need to be a mandatory six months license suspension, no license then possible jail time. Then the driver will need to attend a educational class. Also, follow suit like Chicago and surrounding states, adding the street cameras, and use more speed bumps."

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