Monday, January 07, 2008

Cuts mean new thinking needed

District Attorney John Chisholm and is warning of huge cuts in federal funding next year that will significantly reduce the number of prosecutors on his staff.

Bad federal-level decision-making aside -- please, please, please local Milwaukee pols, be smart about this. Adding police is not the answer!

The Milwaukee reaction to crime has been to add cops, cops and more cops, slashing other city services to pay for them. Police are necessary, but so are firefighters, street repair crews (especially street repair guys), snow plowers, working streetlights, open libraries, a decent Health Department, building inspectors and a lot of other things. They are slowly being sacrificed, though, so Milwaukee can hire more police.

The marginal usefulness of each additional police officer must be around zero -- while police staffing continues to increase, the space to store bad guys and gals is fixed. What good does it do to have more officers if it only creates a revolving door system at the Jail and House of Correction?

Does anyone know if the additional cops making a dent in crime? Are they arresting the right people in the first place?

And now it looks like there will be fewer DAs around to prosecute the folks the cops arrest. Some bright light on the Common Council is sure to suggest that the answer is to add cops and there will be intense political pressure on other aldermen to go along with that deep analysis.

More cops stopped being the answer probably a couple years ago.

Milwaukee will have fewer prosecutors and limited jail space and limited financial resources. The answer we need to figure out is how many cops the city needs and can afford, given those conditions. We need that answer before other city services are totally gutted.

1 comment:

John said said...

Amen Sister!