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Assembly speaker would consider extra Milwaukee police funds if crime fighting improves

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly says he would consider giving Milwaukee a half-million state dollars to add police officers amid a rash of shootings.

However, Republican Robin Vos said the city would need to do a better job of fighting crime.

Last week, Mayor Tom Barrett gave Milwaukee Police an extra half-million in city funds. He asked the state to match it, but Governor Scott Walker said it would only cause more Wisconsin mayors to line up for more money.

Vos told the Wisconsin Eye cable channel that Milwaukee Police have made, “errors over time.” He said they’ve reduced the numbers of officers to the point in which there are too many one person squads who need to wait for one person backups while crimes are committed.

Monday, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn blasted the speaker’s comments, calling them, “intentionally misinformed.”

Joel Plant, Flynn’s chief of staff, said Milwaukee actually has more officers than in 2007 when Flynn first became the police chief. He said the vacancy rate is down, and so is violent crime.

Vos also said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett focused too much on keeping city employee residency requirements during the recent budget debate. Had he mentioned safety concerns instead, Vos said he could have helped the mayor.

Plant said the recent shootings underscore a need for more specific data-driven strategies to prevent violence.

Almost two dozen people have been shot in Milwaukee since August 2nd. Seven of them were murdered.