Milwaukee (May 14, 2022) – Law enforcement executive Brian Barkow, candidate for Milwaukee County Sheriff, issued the following statement regarding multiple incidents of gun violence in Milwaukee County on Friday, May 13:
“A staggering level of gun violence rocked our community yesterday, claiming the lives of three community members and injuring 24 individuals. I extend my deepest condolences to all who are mourning the loss of a family member, friend, or loved one. And I send my wishes for full and expeditious recoveries to all who were injured yesterday.
“Law enforcement, community advocates, and partners agree: this senseless cruelty has no place in Milwaukee County. Yet despite tremendous effort and progress in certain areas, we find ourselves on pace for yet another record-setting year of homicides and non-fatal shootings. Before it becomes too late, we must act decisively to hold violent offenders accountable, heal the trauma that contributes to cycles of violence, and restore peace and safety by working with partners throughout our community.
“The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office must take on a greater role in addressing this crisis. First and foremost, the agency must do even more to address and prevent violent crime. The Sheriff’s Office must significantly step up its presence and visibility in public spaces like our downtown nightlife districts, in support of our police partners. We must also increase our presence in the county parks and on major streets designated as county highways. The agency must also be creative with its resources and restore a dedicated apprehension unit that locates and arrests individuals responsible for violent felonies. Furthermore, the agency must spearhead an investigative support program that allows detectives from outside agencies to assist partner jurisdictions in solving backlogged cases.
“But law enforcement interventions alone will not solve this crisis. The Sheriff’s Office must be an innovative partner supporting organizations and individual advocates working to heal our community and prevent violence. And law enforcement must become more transparent to uphold the trust and confidence of residents throughout our community, so that we can work more effectively in every Milwaukee County neighborhood to identify and resolve public safety challenges before they escalate.
“And with 77% of Wisconsinites expressing approval for their local law enforcement agencies, it is time to declare a truce in the self-defeating debates over public safety funding. We must be unapologetic in stating the obvious: that more detectives, more patrol officers, and more civilian violence prevention professionals are needed – not to over-police our community, but to solve an excruciating backlog of homicides and non-fatal shootings, to bring at-large violent offenders to justice, and to prevent looming tragedies by becoming more visible, more accessible, and more effective in addressing the root causes and symptoms of violent crime, in every neighborhood in our community.”