Milwaukee is one step closer to making its police station lobbies safer.
It’s been two weeks since a man walked into Milwaukee Police District Five and opened fire on staff and civilians inside.
Darreon Parker-Bell, 23, is in jail charged with that crime.
That shooting happened in Alderwoman Milele Coggs’s aldermanic district. That’s why she led the discussion at the city’s Public Safety and Health Committee meeting Thursday.
“I’ve gotten calls from residents,” said Coggs. “They are worried. We need to know what is being done. How is this being handled?”
Representatives from the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) shared some of the increased security measures they put into place after the shooting. They say all police lobby workers were provided access to bullet proof vests. It is their personal decision whether to wear one or not.
Now MPD is focused on what else it can do, like add metal detectors at lobby entrances, and install larger, bullet-resistant glass partitions between police and the public.
The department is also looking into increased surveillance, which could include ring camera doorbells for use outside of office hours.
“If that kind of shooting happened at one of our stations, it could clearly happen at any other,” said Alderman Mark Burkowski. “We have to consider all the tools possible that could increase security.”
Burkowski says the city has ways to cover the cost for security updates. The Milwaukee Police Foundation may be able to help.
The police union has been vocal about the risk at police station lobbies.
“Some of these stations were built in the 40’s and 50’s, when maybe the concerns weren’t there,” said Milwaukee Police Association President Andrew Wagner.
“This is something that should have been done a long time ago. Milwaukee police officers are demanding that security gets better at their districts.”
Wagner points to nearby suburban police departments setting a good example.
Shorewood has a secure police department lobby with bullet-resistant glass. In Greendale, all police department visitors must be buzzed-in to even enter the lobby.