Mayor Barrett, County Executive Abele announce partnership to improve public safety
MILWAUKEE – Under a new partnership adopted by Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will take an incremental step as part of an ongoing collaboration in improving public safety throughout local communities.
This effort aims to reduce juvenile recidivism and improve outcomes for youth offenders through increased monitoring of high-risk individuals and stricter compliance with court imposed restrictions.
The Milwaukee Common Council passed the resolution approving this partnership in April.
“We are working collaboratively to reduce juvenile crime,” Mayor Barrett said. “Juveniles need to know there will be real consequences. This exchange of real time information will work to keep young people out of trouble and foster safer neighborhoods.”
The Milwaukee County Delinquency and Court Services Division (DCSD), through DHHS, currently tracks juvenile’s locations and events by maintaining GPS data on the individuals who wear electronic monitoring devices. This practice encourages compliance with the terms of a juvenile’s supervision.
“For years, Milwaukee County has been implementing comprehensive, data-driven reforms that are all about getting smarter on crime,” County Executive Abele said. “This partnership with the City is another example of how we can improve outcomes for youths and make our community safer at the same time.”
MPD will have access to DCSD GPS data via an Internet-based tracking application when a monitored youth offender enters a prohibited location and when a juvenile is implicated in a crime. At this time, DCSD will provide real time access to their GPS service to assist MPD with the apprehension of the youth.
“Repeat juvenile offenders committing auto thefts, robberies and carjacking need services, sanctions, and supervision. Having these may help to stop a dangerous pattern of behavior and affect a real change in their activities,” Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said. “MPD’s access to GPS monitoring once a juvenile offender violates their terms of supervision is an important tool to hold them accountable and protect the community.”
A key part of this is the exchange of information. DCSD will be notified of any juvenile under their supervision being arrested or investigated by MPD. Parents or legal guardians will be notified when their children have been designated as a high risk offender and that MPD will have access to their GPS information.
This data sharing effort will provide law enforcement officers in Milwaukee County timely information regarding youth under court ordered supervision and, in turn, DCSD with information on the type of interaction between law enforcement and monitored juveniles.
Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said the collaboration between the City and County is critical if positive progress is to be made in protecting the public and in getting the young offenders the “justice and the help they deserve.”
“As a community, we need a holistic and all-hands-on-deck approach to address these few but very troubled young people who will be the focus (of the MOU),” President Hamilton said. “This is an important collaborative effort, and I am looking forward to seeing the results and benefits to the community.”
Milwaukee Police Officers will receive training by DCSD staff or GPS vendor representatives on proper usage of this technology. In addition, cross training between identified staff for each respective agency will be conducted in order to gain an understanding of the mission, vision and daily operations of MPD and DCSD.
Both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, through their law enforcement and criminal rehabilitative efforts, have a mutual interest in the administration of criminal justice to create safer neighborhoods throughout the region.