Efforts to launch a new type of witness protection program in Milwaukee are paying off.
The Milwaukee County program actively pursues witness intimidation claims, rather than sending someone into hiding. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Griepp says that allows investigators to go after a threat directly and to contain it. It's resulted in about 24 arrests so far.
Griepp says this approach uses less money and gets better results. He says hiding or shipping a witness out of state can be costly and often still doesn't keep them from being too scared to testify at trial. The approach being tried in Milwaukee allows them to stay at home, while police go after any intimidation.
The program was funded through a $50,000 state grant. The proposed 2009 Milwaukee County budget would provide $345,000 in funding that would help expand it. Griepp says this approach is worth any extra cost.