Markasa Tucker
Op Ed

Vote No on COPS Grant

We don't want the grant today, tomorrow or next month.

By - Dec 18th, 2020 01:05 pm
Police Administration Building, 951 N. James Lovell St. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Police Administration Building, 951 N. James Lovell St. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

During a recent Common Council meeting, eight of the 15 alders (Ald. Milele Coggs, Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic, Ald. Nikiya Dodd, Ald. Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Nik Kovac, Ald. José Pérez, Ald. Khalif Rainey and Ald. Russell Stamper) rejected the COPS grant, a $9.7 million federal grant to support 30 additional officers for three years. The community believed that the Common Council listened to the countless voices demanding that no additional money be added to the Milwaukee Police Department, not just through the COPS grant, but overall.

Later in this same meeting where they voted “no,” Ald. Dodd made a motion to reconsider the grant, meaning it will go back to the Common Council in January.

Hundreds of voices that spoke at budget hearings over the past two years said they don’t want the COPS grant today, tomorrow or next year! The community wants something else, and it’s not more police.

The vote to deny additional funding to an already bloated and unaccountable police department speaks volumes not just to LiberateMKE’s demand to defund MPD but to the greater community as a whole. Several alderpersons suggested reforms that some community members support, but LiberateMKE does not support, through an alternative resolution presented by Ald. Ashanti Hamilton. In response, MPD made it disappointingly clear it was not willing to bend in the direction of new ideas and accountability.

We will continue to ask people to reach out to their alders, asking them to support the hundreds and hundreds of their constituents who have called for a divestment, not reconsiderations of resourcing MPD.

We hope the Common Council will hold the “NO” vote and reject this grant once and for all in January. Then, it can focus on community safety strategies like non-police responses to mental health, a priority we presented in a letter signed by over 80 community organizations and community leaders, with a similar resolution being unanimously adopted by the Common Council.

We will LiberateMKE!

Markasa Tucker is the director of the African-American Roundtable, a coalition led by and serving the African American community in Milwaukee, including the LiberateMKE campaign.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

More about the 2020 Racial Justice Protests

Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here

One thought on “Op Ed: Vote No on COPS Grant”

  1. Mingus says:

    Most all citizens in Milwaukee, including persons of color, see a need for a law enforcement agency that can respond responsibly to a wide variety of incidents in the community which can impact the health, safety, and property of the residents. The paramount issue which most politicians and community activists choose not to address is changing the practices and police culture which are the cause of so many problems. “Defunding the police” is a nice sounding slogan but so far has done nothing to change the way the police deal with the community.

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