Markasa Tucker

Public Safety Plan Ignores the Community

Aldermen should work harder to consult residents and target underlying causes of crime.

By - Oct 21st, 2016 11:07 am
Ald. Donovan

Ald. Donovan

Milwaukee residents are being given opportunities to weigh in on the city’s public safety issues. Sadly, this plan is not a venue to address societal underpinnings of crime and poverty that has plagued Milwaukee since deindustrialization.

Alderman Bob Donovan said, “this plan is not this venue for suggestions around the need for jobs and youth development, but to improve policing and the criminal justice system.”

But how can you share ideas and feedback around a Public Safety Action Plan without addressing and taking action steps on some of the city’s greatest issues and needs?

I attended the first Public Safety Committee listening session on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Morse Marshall High School, on the city’s far northwest side. I was not surprised to see a room of no more than 35 or so residents. I believe residents do care about public safety issues, but just may have not been engaged.

If these listening sessions are going to be effective, the information must reach the individuals that this public safety plan would affect most; young people, people of color, especially black males, business owners, and the community as a whole. My concern has always been that the right people would not know about the listening sessions and not have an opportunity to weigh in on public safety issues. So I’ve asked the aldermen who were present that Saturday about their efforts to turn out residents.

Alderman Jose Perez, who’s helping to host a listening session at South Division High School on Saturday, Oct. 22 said that in his district he was working with community-based organizations, community organizers, and neighborhood associations. We will see how his efforts pan out. But it appears Alderman Chevy Johnson, who also replied, appear to not have, taken steps to actually canvass the neighborhoods and reach out to churches, businesses and other organizations.

These listening sessions will continue to be ineffective if elected officials do not make it their priority to go outside of their offices’ walls and put boots to the ground. Great opportunities are missed when the critical step of engaging with the community, as the elected officials did during election season, are not occurring a consistent basis.

The Public Safety Action Plan states the problem that must be addressed before any of the other issues like joblessness, housing issues, multigenerational poverty, breakdown of the family, widespread drug use, and a seriously challenged education system.  But why would we continue to develop plans that are not addressing the issues that lead to public safety issues and concerns? Why would we keep addressing policing and the criminal justice system needs without at least considering a parallel plan to address the root causes?

The Public Safety Committee has two more listening sessions on the city’s southside, Saturday, Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m. at South Division High School, 1515 W. Lapham Blvd and Saturday Oct. 29 at 9:30 a.m. at Pulaski High School, 2500 W. Oklahoma Ave.

Markasa Tucker, of Milwaukee, is a community activist and organizer and a mother of one child.

8 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Public Safety Plan Ignores the Community”

  1. PMD says:

    The JS published a story on October 3 about the public safety plan, and something Donovan said really bothers me. From the story:

    -Some critics have said Donovan and other city leaders should have given members of the public a chance to comment first, before drafting a plan.

    “I know that’s a concern among some,” Donovan said after the hearing. “However, you know, when you get 100 individuals into a room, you have 100 different ideas all being thrown around. So we felt it was more important that we have something solid that we could at least recommend and more forward with to give people an opportunity to comment on.”

    Seriously Bob? You are a public official who never misses the chance to pontificate about your concern for public safety and the citizens of Milwaukee concerned with crime. So what if 100 people want to speak? So what if a lot of people show up to a meeting about public safety? That means we have engaged citizens.

  2. WashCoRepub says:

    Remove the criminals from the local area and lock them up. Remove and separate them from the good citizens who are not interested in a life of crime and family disorder, and who need a safe, stable and supportive environment in which to thrive, and raise great kids and have the opportunity for education and employment.

    When a community has a killer virus, we talk of ‘how do we isolate and eradicate the virus to protect the public?’ It’s the same with crime. It corrupts, influences, and spreads. Isolate and eradicate it with effective law enforcement.

  3. AG says:

    That comment probably needs context . In the plan itself, it listed all the city government stake holders that gave testimony to the committee before making the plan and also, ” ity of Milwaukee elected officials also heard communication files from City departments about public safety, interviewed current and former members of law enforcement, some of whom were at command staff rank, and participated in community meetings. Most importantly, Milwaukee’s elected officials sat down with and listened to their constituents about their fears of crime and lawlessness, and heard about how crime had impacted their lives first hand.

    Often times our city and community leaders do far too much talking and not enough action. I like to see something solid that they are actually moving forward on.

    Regarding this article, the council already said there would be separate proposals that will, “…incorporate resident engagement, public education, community relations and job creation strategies.” This plan actually already has quite about in it regarding community engagement. I feel as if many of it’s critics haven’t even read the plan.

  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    Lock up criminals. I have never in my life heard such an innovative public safety plan. I am really starting to believe that WashCoRepub is parodying a conservative.

    I am looking at Donovan’s comment in a more isolated fashion AG. What exactly is the problem with 100 people showing up to comment at a public meeting designed to gather information? It goes completely against the image he has tried to construct as a humble servant, just a man of the people who cares deeply about law-abiding citizens. Yet if those citizens show up in droves because they care it’s a problem? That’s ridiculous.

  5. steenwyr says:

    Lock up criminals.

    Yeah, in Washington County. I’d say we’d only need to ask your friend Scotty for the cash for DOC to build a new prison there, but he’s already probably got a dark-money lobbyist group salivating for a chance at a private prison so far up his ass that we likely don’t need to. How’dya like them apples?

  6. steenwyr says:

    Sorry, the “your friend Scotty” in post #5 is directed to ‘WashCoReub’, not ‘Vincent Hanna’ as could be derived from the quoting.

  7. Jason says:

    According to an article in Politico, titled How Milwaukee Shook of the Rust. Black unemployment stands at 18 percent in the city. The Journal Sentinel yesterday release figures of 4 percent unemployment in the State of Wisconsin. Yet, if you look at the labor participation rate for every two workers there is one not working. Yikes.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    Are you drawing a connection between crime and the labor participation rate? How would you get people back to work Jason, just out of curiosity? You frequently mention people being out of work and how dire things are for everyone. A lot of doom and gloom from you, which I guess is why you support Mr. Doom and Gloom.

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