MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee’s Acting Police Chief is responding to criticism about the department’s handling of the large, sometimes violent crowds on Water Street late at night.
Jeffrey Norman said, ”I share their urgency. I understand the importance of being able to deal with this. It’s a fine line of how do we go about it the right way.”
A man was shot and killed two weeks ago, and last weekend there were several shootings reported to police.
"At this point, the solutions have been pretty soft," said Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman.
Chief Norman responded to that by referencing the arrests made, tickets issued and cars towed just last weekend.
“We are doing a lot of the things that are expected of us in regards to ensuring that we are going to have a safe environment,” said Norman.
The Acting Chief calls the large groups “in-betweeners” or a lot of teenagers old enough to be out of the house, but not old enough to drink at the bars along the popular street, and said downtown is not the only area of concern.
“We’re seeing a movement of a group all across the city. I’d like to say greater Milwaukee, whether it’s at Midtown or down at the lakefront, now you see it downtown," said Norman.
Norman says the police department is working with other city agencies to help solve the problem, calling it an “all hands on deck” issue.
The Acting Chief spent Saturday night into Sunday morning with the beat cops downtown, saying “you can not be an effective leader and not have eyes on concerns and problems, especially of this type of nature. I felt compelled to be there to see it first hand.”
The mayor’s office says several city agencies are engaged with the residents and the business owners in the area, hoping to find a solution.