Today as we Recognize Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, we look at the struggle our officers continue to face on a day-to-day basis.
Just last week our officers were faced with a violent criminal who decided to fire at them while they were pursuing him in a stolen vehicle. The officer’s actions that day were heroic. The officers were willing to put their lives at risk to prevent this active shooter from continuing his actions against the police and the public. Unfortunately, the pursuit was canceled, this cannot become the norm. The lives of our officers and citizens will be put in much greater danger if these types of actions are not immediately addressed. There are certain situations such as active shooters, that create so much danger to the public that police have no other choice but to continue to pursue and take these violent criminals into custody.
These are not uncommon incidents. Our officers are responding to an all-time high of calls for service while our sworn strength is at the lowest it has been in two decades. The sacrifices our officers are making on their mind, body and spirit is unfathomable. The term “burn out” is real and our officer’s morale is not just low it is abysmal. We are seeing resignations out pace retirements something I have not seen in my over 25-year career. Through it all our officers have remained professional and put their duty of service above their own personal needs. They are begging for help though, they see the effect that crime has on the 99.99 percent of the hard-working honorable citizens of Milwaukee. Every officer signed up for this job because they wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, when they are not given the resources to make that difference it is demoralizing and soul crushing.
On Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, I ask for your help so we can better help you. Saying thank you to a police officer is appreciated, but what we really need is your voice. We need you to tell your message to an elected official, demand that this narrative change, tell them about what you have witnessed in your neighborhood, and tell them you will hold them accountable (at the ballot box) if they refuse to deliver the resources needed to address the rising crime rate.
Milwaukee Police Association