Milwaukee Police Target Speeding
Vehicle crashes, hit-and-runs spiking, police working with state patrol to clamp down.
With vehicle crashes on the rise in Milwaukee, law enforcement agencies from across Milwaukee County are supporting the city police department’s plan targeting speeding to curb the problem.
During the first four months of 2019, there have been 16 fatal crashes in Milwaukee. In 2018, there were 51 fatal accidents, and law enforcement doesn’t want to reach or surpass the 2018 figure.
At a press conference Wednesday with leaders from neighboring law enforcement agencies, Wisconsin State Patrol and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm standing behind him, Milwaukee Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson said the department will not have a repeat of last year.
“We’re not here to issue citations, there is no quota concern,” Brunson said. “But citations is what is required to change behavior. That is what we want to do. We want to increase safety in our city.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said the department will be working collaboratively with other jurisdictions on traffic enforcement. That will include using data and social media messaging.
Wisconsin State Patrol Maj. Adrian Logan said public education is what the initiative is about.
The number of crashes in Milwaukee has increased nearly 26 percent in the last 10 years, according to a report presented to the city’s Public Safety and Health Committee on April 25.
Of the 16,338 crashes in 2018, 4,552 involved injuries and 51 of those crashes were fatal.
The report also called attention to the number of hit-and-run crashes in Milwaukee.
In 2018, there were more than 5,000 hit-and-runs, accounting for 32 percent of the crashes in the city.
By comparison, failure-to-yield caused about 20 percent of the crashes; speed, 11 percent; inattentive driving, 5 percent; and alcohol, 3 percent.
Morales said the department has a plan in place for hit-and-run drivers. He said details of that plan will be discussed at a later date.
Wednesday’s press conference at the Milwaukee Police Department headquarters downtowncomes about a week after the Milwaukee Police Department defended its chase policy. In 2017, the department changed its policy to allow officers to pursue reckless vehicles.
There were 940 police chases in 2018, up from 369 in 2017, according to a recent study. Twenty-five percent of the chases in 2018 resulted in a traffic accident.
Auto thefts, non-fatal shootings and homicides are down in the city this year, Morales said.
“Traffic enforcement plays a role in that,” Morales said. “Yes, our pursuits increased because now we are pursuing. We’re doing this again this year and now we will be able to compare apples to apples.”
Listen to the WPR report here.
Milwaukee Police Targeting Speeding To Reduce Crashes was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.