The city's Public Safety Action plan, Sister Rose Steitz said at a public hearing Monday, is perceived in the community as "a page out of Sheriff (David) Clarke's playbook."
The plan did not have support, she said.
Chris Ahmuty, executive director of ACLU-Wisconsin, said some Police Department practices are "undermining...the trust in the community."
The Police Department in February reported to the Fire and Police Commission the department's compliance with the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommendations, Ahmuty said.
The task for recommended that "Law enforcement agencies should consider the potential damage to public trust when implementing crime fighting strategies," Ahmuty said. The Police department reported: "Not currently being done."
"Will they ever do it?" he asked Monday.
All in all, the Common Council's Public Safety Action Plan, which is heavy on compliance and coercion and calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending, was not warmly received by community group representatives who testified. During the first 90 minutes of the hearing, not a single speaker endorsed the plan.
Monday's hearing was the first of four scheduled to get input on the Action Plan and was designed specifically to get input from community groups. The next hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Marshall High School, 4141 N. 64th St.
Wisconsin Justice Initiative Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt said in written testimony that "the plan is deeply flawed. It is unaffordable and puts too much emphasis on control and coercion." (See WJI's full testimony below.)
Joseph Ellwanger, representing Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Help, said the answer to the city's problems "is not more police" and that "all the segments of our communities" need to "work together as partners for the common good of all."
Fred Royal, president of NAACP-Milwaukee, said, "We should be getting better outcomes than we're getting from our Police Department."
And R.L. McNeely, chairman of the Chaney Community Advisory Board, asked "Haven't we learned here in Wisconsin...that we can't incarcerate ourselves out of crime?"
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
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