Milwaukee Inspector Leslie Thiele:
Officers Are Retiring Because They’re Demoralized
Our homicides are way up. We haven’t seen these numbers since 1991. We have 86 homicides this year, compared to 37 to this point last year, so we have a 132% increase. We’ve had an increase since the fall, but it has increased immensely over the last couple of months. We had a couple mass shootings, but a lot of shootings tend to be related to drugs or silly disputes. We’ve had a big increase in domestic violence shootings.
We’re basically not getting any support from our Common Council or our Fire and Police Commissioners. They have talked about potentially cutting more of our budget. The attrition rate is very high the last couple years, and it’s going to continue this year. We have had a lot of people come forward and basically say they’ve had enough and retire. We’ve had younger officers who have been on for a year to 10 years, and have resigned because they’re not willing to put their families through any news stories that would come out if they were involved in anything. It has been difficult, and morale is low.
But we’re doing the best we can. Our officers are still out there taking their assignments, and some are still trying to be proactive. But, overall, I think the feeling is that they’ll do what they have to do but proactive policing is minimal right now.