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Budget cuts could force Milwaukee PD to eliminate a patrol district

City officials asked what would happen to police operations if the department lost 25% of its budget



By Bill Carey

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee is facing a budget crisis that could cause cuts in the police department so drastic that one patrol district could be eliminated, and another would have its late shift cut.

Budget committee members met with department leadership at District 6, which is on the chopping block, as the city tries to deal with a $156M budget gap, TMJ4 reported. The committee asked what it would look like if the department cut 25% of its budget, approximately $70 million.

Assistant Chief Nicole Waldner told the committee on Monday that to save money, they’d look at closing District 6, WISN reported.

“District 6, the lowest calls for service, we’d off-load the building, it was a greater savings,” she said. Other changes include eliminating District 4’s late shift and the Traffic Safety Unit tasked that focuses on the city’s reckless driving problem.

“The traffic safety unit would have to be eliminated. Essentially, we would need their squads and personnel in the districts to take calls for service,” said Waldner.

With police being one of the most expensive items on the city budget, Fiscal Policy Director Molly King said something may have to give, “We’re in the loom of falling off a cliff. Our financial system is dire, and so we need to make tremendous and extreme cuts to sustain our budget.”

The Milwaukee Fire Department and Milwaukee Public Libraries also made similar presentations. They have until May 9 to send the mayor their requested budget to keep their operations going as-is.