Milwaukee Mayor Barrett Says Public Safety Problems On Water Street 'On Front Burner'
The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks start their NBA playoff series Wednesday night at the Fiserv Forum. While many fans will go home right after the game, city leaders are worried others will add to the crowds on Water Street that are raising concerns about public safety.
During the last two weekends, there have been shootings, drinking of alcohol in the streets, motor vehicle violations and other behavior that have led to arrests, people being ticketed and cars towed.
Nearby residents and some merchants have been complaining.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett conceded to news reporters Tuesday that there's a problem. He said he's been talking with several city department heads, including the police chief.
"So the police are out there. I understand, and agree with, the concern that we should have more police officers there, and we're working to do that. The suggestion has been made to close off streets. We have taken some measures in that area. We have limited scooter activity. We have limited and moved the food trucks But this is very much on our front burner," Barrett said.
In response to some Common Council members who have said they don't want the police to be heavy-handed, Barrett stated, "I don't want them to be heavy-handed and cause us problems that would result in either backlash or not being effective in creating a peaceful situation. But I am absolutely committed to them being even-handed and effective."
That commitment that could be tested as early as Wednesday night after the Bucks game.