In light of gun violence, Green Bay’s mayor proposes using COVID relief funds for crime prevention
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The recent deadly shootings in the Green Bay area have left the community mournful, yet also more focused to tackle gun violence.
“Really it impacts our whole community every time there’s an incident of gun violence, and that’s why we are committed to doing everything that we can to preventing this kind of violent crime from happening in the first place,” Green Bay Police Chief Chris Davis told Action 2 News.
Three people died and one was seriously injured in what authorities suspect as domestic violence related incidents Thursday. Two people were found dead in a garage in Ashwaubenon, while police responded to an attempted murder-suicide in Green Bay’s east side that left a man dead and a woman recovering from a gunshot wound.
Davis previously served as the chief deputy at the Portland Police Bureau before being sworn in September of this year as Green Bay’s new police chief. He said the uptick in crime isn’t unique to this area and he has an idea for tackling this. It’s called violence interrupters.
“Folks from the community who can go out either in the moment when something is happening to try to intervene and de-escalate a situation, or who can help work with us when we identify people who are at risk of being a victim or perpetrator of gun violence,” Davis said.
This could be paid for using funds from the American Rescue Act. Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich held a town hall Thursday where he proposed allocating $2 million out of a total of $23.7 million in ARPA funds the city received for crime prevention.
Chief Davis expressed interest in investing some of those funds in new forensic technology.
“Things like that that can help us get those leads quickly in cases when we do have a shooting, and help us to resolve those cases faster,” Davis said.
Green Bay alderman for District 4, Bill Galvin, is a former city officer and likes the funds being invested in officer training.
“Maybe training the officers up more on social issues, so they’re more aware, more cognizant of things that are going around us, that maybe you know they’re doing things that are upsetting people without even realizing it,” Galvin said.
He’d be concerned if the funds were going to create new jobs in the department.
“When we’re adding positions with grants and things like that. Sometimes those grants will run two, three years. But then what do you do when that’s out? Do you just drop the position? Or are you going to have to jack up taxes dramatically to cover that?” Galvin said.
The mayor’s budget proposal still needs to go before the common council, which plans to meet next on November 2.
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