MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales shared his vision for the department in 2019 during a news conference Thursday. But what do citizens of Milwaukee think should be the priorities and goals of MPD during the year ahead?
In just the first three days of 2019, The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner is working on the autopsies of 17 people. Many of them were killed by drug overdoses, gun violence, and car accidents. All issues we need to address as a community.
The first homicide of 2019 happened near 5th and Keefe.
“Police can’t just come and sit here in a squad car 24/7,” said Joseph William Henry Junior, 70, who was born and raised in the neighborhood. “They can’t be everywhere at once. It’s not reality. There are a ton of community-based organizations, but they’re not being utilized properly. It’s on all of us. Police can’t do it all by themselves.”
He says the challenge is reaching the people at the center of the problems, when everyone is just trying to survive.
“That’s all anybody is focusing on right now: how am I going to pay my bills,” he said. “Life is busy and hard. We’re all just trying to get by day by day. A shooting happens, we don’t have time to get to the bottom of it. We just go on.”
“We have to talk to each other” said Russell Rossetto, who lives and owns a business near 1st and Mitchell. “We have to reach out to our young men and women who are acting out, our friends and neighbors. Some of them are hard to get through to, but we have to try.”
Just a few blocks from where Rossetto lives and works, someone was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve. It marked the 100th homicide of 2018. A devastating scene, for someone committed to the area’s success.
“We have to do better,” Rossetto said. “Police have one of the toughest jobs. Things happen, and their lives are put on the line day in and day out. We have to understand that. But they also have a huge job in repairing the breach of trust that’s happened because of various things, and they need to keep each other in check. Repairing that will come one interaction at a time.”