Monday marked the deadline for the Milwaukee Common Council to place a referendum on the November ballot. It would have asked voters if they wanted to pay more property taxes in order to hire 150 additional police officers. The deadline for action came and went.
The City of Milwaukee could face a huge shortage of police officers. Estimates are that well over 300 could retire by the end of next year, reports WUWM.
Ald. Terry Witkowski wanted to ask voters whether to raise property taxes to pay for 150 additional officers over the next five years. He says, otherwise, it would be difficult to find the money.
"We would have to close three branches of the Milwaukee Public Library, we would have to close the Municipal Court, the Department of City Development and stop all the functions of the Health Department that are not grant funded," Witkowski says.
A council committee considered Witkowski's idea last month, but delayed a vote with the understanding that the proposal would return. It never did.
Ald. Mark Borkowski says he's disappointed and fears what could happen in 18 months. "At the end of 2017, we have 350 current officers who are eligible to retire. How many of them are going to actually retire and leave? I would say a great majority of them will, because right now, being a police officer is a very difficult job, you're always being second guessed, there's not a whole lot of love and sympathy for you," he says.