Milwaukee alderman held off Tuesday, on ordering an audit of crime data gathered by the police department. The resolution was spurred by a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report showing MPD misclassified more than 500 aggravated assaults as lesser offenses over a two year period ending in February. “We’re going into a long,. hot summer, and I think it’s important that the citizens of the city Milwaukee realize that their calls for service aren’t being miscategorized, for whatever reason,” said Alderman Joe Dudzik, who authored the proposal.
The newspaper drew criticism during council discussion. “Based on following the money, and how they devote money, the two most important things in this state are the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Police Department,” said Alderman Nik Kovac. But Alderman Robert Donovan defended the reporting. “I commend the Journal Sentinel, quite frankly,” said Donovan. “Some of us have been hearing concerns about these numbers for a long, long time.”
The crime numbers became an issue in the recall campaign, with Governor Scott Walker issuing an ad linking Mayor Tom Barrett to the problem. Now, Walker is supporting a call by some lawmakers for a state audit of the Milwaukee department. The council voted 13-to-1 to send the audit resolution to committee for more consideration. “I think that one thing the committee needs to consider in any audit of this information, is not to just cherry pick a few “gotcha” numbers, which clearly is what I think the newspaper did,” cautioned Kovac.