FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2017
Contact: Representative Rob Hutton (608) 267-9837
MADISON – There are certain meetings and events that deserve strong attendance from the community. Roughly 300 community residents attended Monday’s ‘Anti-Violence Town Hall’ held at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society. As I understood it, the event was an opportunity for the community to hear Milwaukee’s initiative on addressing the crime problem, the plan and timeline to implement it, and the accountability to ensure it happens.
Milwaukee is truly a tale of two cities. On one hand, we have development in downtown happening at a pace we haven’t seen in decades. Projects currently underway could literally change and fuel Milwaukee’s economic landscape for decades to come.
Unfortunately, most of that positive development is being overshadowed by the dark cloud of crime and violence that has a stronghold in many of our Milwaukee neighborhoods. While crime and violence in major cities is nothing new, the policies that structure law enforcement’s response determine the outcome: numerous deaths of innocent victims, growing gang violence, expansion of human trafficking, rampant drug use, lost economic investment, blighted/boarded up neighborhoods, and hardworking residence imprisoned in their own homes.
Several weeks ago I toured Milwaukee’s 53206 neighborhoods for several hours with a local official. The story of 53206 (and other Northside and Southside neighborhoods) is sad and tragic. Block after block showed the clear signs of a once thriving neighborhood now in severe decline, disorder, and distress.
That is why I felt it was important to hear first-hand what the city’s strategy was to seriously address Milwaukee’s out of control crime problem. I expected to hear signs of leadership and responsibility that would instill hope for those in attendance.
Sadly, what I heard Monday evening was leadership in Milwaukee point the blame for Milwaukee’s growing crime rate at anyone they could find. At no point during the Town Hall did leadership own the problem and outline a strategy to correct it. Instead of hearing specific strategies to take back neighborhoods and protect its citizens, I heard culpability assigned to the city residents, other departments, and even individuals almost 100 miles outside the city itself.
As citizens of Wisconsin, we place individuals in positions of leadership with the expectation they will accomplish certain tasks. In the case of law enforcement we expect them to keep us safe by finding and catching those who threaten the livelihood, property, and lives of us as citizens. I would argue that Milwaukee has the finest to be found anywhere who bravely wear the badge and sacrificially serve daily on our behalf.
Typically, when there is a poor outcome in any organization the buck stops in leadership at the top. As stakeholders, we expect that those leaders take personal responsibility and correct the problem. If responsibility isn’t taken and improvements aren’t made, changes are eventually required in leadership itself.
Representative Hutton represents the 13th Assembly District which contains parts of Milwaukee and Waukesha counties and includes Elm Grove and portions of Brookfield, Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and West Allis.