MILWAUKEE — The leader of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention, Reggie Moore, is leaving to take another job with the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Moore says Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention will remain in good hands. When he started his position as director five years ago, it had just two employees. Now it has nine with plenty of community partners.
Moore admits the leading role of preventing violence in Milwaukee has been challenging but also rewarding, as violence is now seen as a public health crisis, rather than just a law enforcement issue.
“We’re talking about violence differently and understanding it’s not simply an issue of a bad choice, there are bad choices that have happened long before an interpersonal incident has happened,” Moore said.
Under Moore’s leadership, the city has instituted a ‘Blueprint for Peace’ which is topped off with an effort to stop shootings while supporting children and families in need. It’s something Mayor Tom Barrett says is utilized every day across the city.
“I think no mere mortal could do it,” Mayor Barrett said. "This is an incredibly emotionally taxing, physically taxing job and it’s a very difficult job, but he’s got a tremendous team.”
Moore’s departure comes as the city continues to see a dramatic increase in violence amid the pandemic. 2020 was a record year for Milwaukee homicides, nearly doubling the totals from 2019. Milwaukee Police Department statistics show aggravated assaults also saw a major spike.
“It underscores the fact that when families and communities don’t have what they need to thrive, it actually creates conditions for violence to flourish,” Moore said.
Moore prides the city’s partnership with 414Life, a community organization that is trained to disrupt violence and support shooting victims as they overcome trauma.
While Moore is proud of Milwaukee’s efforts to invest in families, quality housing and after-school programs to get troubled youth on the right track, he believes now is the right time to broaden his reach.
He’s moving onto the Medical College of Wisconsin to build a team that will advocate for violence prevention policies on a statewide and national level. Moore says he plans to help other cities like Racine and Green Bay launch violence prevention offices similar to Milwaukee’s.
“I’m leaving a role, I’m not leaving the work and I’m not leaving the movement. So to me, this is an elevation and expansion of the work, and so the struggle continues,” he said.
Mayor Barrett says the search for Moore’s replacement is already underway. Moore will leave his current role at the end of April.