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State offers security fencing for Milwaukee's entertainment district as part of $2.2M anti-violence investment

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Posted at 4:31 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 08:18:29-04

MILWAUKEE — More than $2 million will go towards security enhancements for Milwaukee's entertainment district, Governor Tony Evers announced Monday.

Part of the money will go towards security fencing, which officials can remotely pull up or down for crowds during weekends or big events.

"We don't have specifics about exactly what that will look like just yet," Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. "But that's within the frame of thought, especially considering what happened just last week Friday, or two Friday's ago, rather."

That's when 21 people were shot in a span of two hours on Water Street and MLK Drive.

Mayor Johnson said he doesn't have a timeline of when the money or the fencing will be available, but he says he believes it will be soon.

"The fencing would help us to better secure the roadway or vehicular traffic. So there are a number of other things that we're looking at in conjunction with that," Mayor Johnson said. "That's the area it would help to curtail is the reckless driving issue and the access issue, especially as it relates to the downtown entertainment district that we want to be safe."

Pedro Jorge says he comes to MLK Drive often, and says this idea is a good start.

"I think trying anything for safety is a good thing," Jorge said. "Certainly better than not doing anything."

The money from the state will also go towards new technology for investigating shootings. Some of it will help pay for Milwaukee police overtime costs.

"It is a challenge, we are dealing with attrition, we have issues of retirement, but we have an influx of officers coming on board," said Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman. "We have a class in house right now, and also we're going to have a couple more future classes. So help is coming, but yes, it's going to be a challenge this summer."

The governor's office says the money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act funds.

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