Proposal: Police would take over Milwaukee Co. Parks patrol, 9-1-1 in city
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced Monday that they have agreed to have Milwaukee Police take over policing duties at any County park in the City, while also handling 911 calls made in the city.
The new policing would take effect in 2013, according to the proposal.
According to a news release, the police 9-1-1 call handling will eliminate a step of moving an emergency call from the Sheriff's Department to Police.
The agreement, made in what officials call a "memorandum of understanding," says that Milwaukee Police would make a good faith effort to hire Sheriff's deputies and others who could be laid off.
The news release also says the Milwaukee County Board and Milwaukee Common Council.
"It's an ongoing attempt by Chris Abele to undermine my authority," said Sheriff David Clarke on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Charlie Sykes about the agreement. "It's nothing new. He's done this before. The County Board will be the ultimate arbiter of this."
"I'm all for the City of Milwaukee patrolling those parks," said Clarke, but regarding County funding for such park patrols, "Why should a county taxpayer have to pay property tax for a city patrol in Milwaukee?"
Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic released a statement about the proposal, writing in part:
"The Board has a strong record of prioritizing public safety as demonstrated by its budget actions, including the restoration of $1.5 million for targeted park patrols and $1.5 million Emergency Medical Services.
"While the County Executive claims this proposal is a good one and that we should all agree with his ideas, the County Board and the public have not had a chance to review it and to ensure that the plan does not diminish public safety or leave taxpayers holding the bag...
"The Board looks forward to robust discussion of this proposal during budget deliberations as we invite the most important stakeholders to the table: the public. We certainly hope today's media announcement does not leave anyone with the impression that this proposal is a done deal."