Why I Chose To Run For Alderman
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Now you know why I'm running for Alderman here in the 8th District. Ask the other candidates if they fully support MPD & MFD & they'll give you a typical politician answer that will amount to nothing. Take the 2 minutes & read this & know how important it is that I win. Even if I'm not in your District. We need as many like minds as possible on the Common Council.
** PRESS RELEASE regarding the Mayor's proposed MPD budget cuts **
Per FBI statistics, Milwaukee is one of the most violent big cities (500,000+ population) in the United States every year. Within just the past few years, Milwaukee was ranked the 4th most violent big city in America. The Milwaukee Police Department is already extremely short-staffed and should have hundreds more officers than they currently do. We hav e approximately 300 less sworn officers than we did at one point in my career, when public safety in the city was actually a priority for city leaders. We also continue to steadily lose large amounts of officers annually due to retirements, which the MPA has forecasted and publicized for years. Our current retirement predicament was anticipated years in advance and the city has done nothing to address this critical staffing issue.
Now the Mayor proposes a multi-million dollar budget cut and the loss of 60 police officer positions to the Milwaukee Police Department. Such a cut will result in a more dangerous city for our citizens, a serious degradation of the quality and timeliness of police services, further officer fatigue, a more dangerous environment for officers, and ultimately, without a doubt, more citizens will die due to violence.
Make no mistake, a massive budget cut to MPD will result in MORE LOSS OF LIFE, a higher crime rate, and a place where people and businesses won't want to be. Without our basic RIGHT to public safety, the city will rapidly begin to free-fall in many very bad ways.
If the FBI’s statistics aren’t concerning enough, take a look at the Common Council's website and you’ll see how our own citizens feel about Milwaukee’s crime. The top article displayed is the 2016 Milwaukee Public Safety survey. In it, it details how 70% of the city's residents feel that crime is such an issue in the city that they have considered moving out of the city. Yes, you read that correctly, 7 out of 10 citizens in this city have considered fleeing Milwaukee because crime is so rampant. My guess is that most would have left already if they had the means to do so. That's utterly ridiculous and unacceptable!
We as citizens living in Milwaukee have the RIGHT TO BE SAFE! The Mayor and the Common Council have a DUTY to provide us all safety, BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE, yet we see funding planned for what should be low-priority projects.
One example of funding that the Mayor SHOULD cut far before any officer positions is the trolley. The rail car is anticipated to run a deficit of nearly a million dollars this year, which will be paid out of the city’s parking fund in the upcoming 2020 budget. Then in 2020, the federal funding of $4.3M for the trolley will run out and the city will then be responsible for millions in operating costs thereafter, beginning with the 2021 budget. How many officers could have been employed with that money? How many lives could have been saved? Clearly, the Mayor has no issues planning to spend millions for the trolley, but claims he is being forced to be fiscally responsible by cutting police officer positions. Are you kidding me? Last I checked, trolleys don’t save lives, cops do! After all, it’s police officers that are the only ones that risk their lives and proactively apprehend violent, armed criminals BEFORE they shoot and kill people. The number of lives that would have been taken, but were prevented from being taken because of the work of Milwaukee police officers cannot be quantified, as it’s impossible to tabulate what didn’t happen. But without a doubt, cops prevent many murders every year in this city with their proactive police work! Without the cops to stop them, criminals will be able to operate with more ease and a feeling of impunity, ready to shoot.
If people want evidence of what it’s going to be like when there’s less law enforcement (due to less cops in this case) in this city, simply look back at the violent crime and homicide rates under Chief Flynn when he essentially handcuffed police in this city from pursuing vehicles. What did we see? There was a significant spike in murders and violent crime. That spike was in direct correlation to the lack of law enforcement being performed in this city, which emboldened criminals, due to his policy; the same lack of law enforcement that will occur due to having less cops, under this proposed budget. It’s proof that when cops can’t do their jobs, or you simply don’t have enough of them to get the job done, criminals become emboldened and ultimately, more lives will be lost.
Mr. Mayor, the next time, God forbid, a child or innocent person is once again caught in the crossfire of bullets flying in Milwaukee (already seems to be a weekly occurrence), please spare us your news conference while standing on a street corner and acting like you care. You don’t. When it comes down to it, you would rather sacrifice human safety in Milwaukee than make cuts to your precious trolley. And please, stop telling people that no tax money goes for the trolley, as if we citizens aren’t paying for it in some way. You had to remove many parking meters just to make room for the rail car, which is a loss of revenue itself, and you will soon be raiding the parking fund next year to pay for the trolley’s deficits. That money is income made from Milwaukee’s citizens and should be used to pay for our public safety way before your boondoggle trolley!
If we're already one of the most violent big cities in the country and 70% of our residents are already afraid to live here, what would this city be like with less cops, longer police response times, less patrol, less proactive policing, less crimes solved, worsened police/community relations, emboldened criminals, and more violence and death?
Police services should not be considered an expendable luxury that can be reduced in this city, they’re an absolute necessity and are literally the only thing standing between peace and violent chaos.
Officers in Milwaukee are out there around the clock every single day, risking their lives, sometimes losing their lives, simply to protect our citizens. They’re doing an amazing job at trying to keep the city safe, every minute of every day, but let’s be real, they’re not miracle workers and there’s no doubt that with 60 less officers public safety will suffer severely. There will undoubtedly be a human cost to these cuts, should they go through.
What's one life, or many lives worth? $10M savings? $1M savings? No amount of monetary savings is worth losing a human being's life. Consequently, there should not even be any conversation of cutting the police budget by millions that is considered rational. Period.
Safety should be of the utmost priority and anybody thinking that we can absorb huge police cuts and everything will be ok is sadly mistaken.
I call on the Common Council to reject these MPD budget cuts!
We need more police in Milwaukee, not less.
- Shawn C. Lauda President Milwaukee Police Association Resident of Milwaukee