by Brett Rowland
Eric Toney, the GOP candidate running for Wisconsin’s Attorney General, said Milwaukee was one of America’s most dangerous cities.
The Fond du Lac district attorney cited homicides within the city are on track to break the record of 193 set in 2021.
Yet, despite the reputation for violence, the city of Milwaukee police department has been arresting fewer and fewer people over the past nine years.
Milwaukee police made 13,272 arrests in 2021, which was 61 percent less than the 34,326 arrests made in 2012. The drop in arrests pre-dated the pandemic. Arrests went from 34,326 in 2012 to 17,007 in 2019, that’s more than a 50 percent drop in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The decline in arrests comes at a time when police were going on more dispatched assignments than in the past.
Milwaukee police went on 279,818 dispatched assignments in 2021, the most since 2016 and the second-highest total of calls since 2012. City police were dispatched 13 percent more than in 2012, according to city data.
The Milwaukee police force had the fewest sworn officers in 2021 since at least 2006, when online records are available. The city had 1,839 sworn officers in 2021, which was 10 percent fewer than in 2012.
“The Milwaukee Police Department has not evaluated historical data related to arrests,” said Sgt. Efrain Cornejo, spokesman for the department. “We remain committed to working with our community and system partners to build sustainable healthy neighborhoods, free of crime and maintained by positive relationships.”
Milwaukee’s police department falls in line with numerous other police forces in the country that have seen a large reduction in arrests.
Joshua Taylor, the 4th Congressional District Chair of the Milwaukee Democratic Party, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
The Milwaukee Police Association didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
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Brett Rowland is the regional Editor for The Center Square. He has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Rowland previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.
Photo “Milwaukee Police” by Vincent Desjardins. CC BY 2.0.