The State Department of Justice along with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office rolled out plans Wednesday for witness protection in the county. District Attorney John Chisolm says the $50,000 federal grant will be used to protect those who want to testify in crimes involving shooting, domestic violence and homicide. This summer all Milwaukee county investigators will be working closely with state DOJ investigators to provide services for witnesses and victims in these cases.
One concern is that many summer arrests will become fall and winter prosecutions; however the grant money runs out in September. Chisolm shares that concern but emphasizes this is a pilot program. As the program proves successful he's confident funding sources will come through.
The county has not had a witness protection unit since 2003 when it was dropped for funding reasons. Milwaukee's witness woes made national headlines last year when 24-year-old Maurice Pulley was murdered after he agreed to testify against a suspect who had shot him in the face.