Neighborhood Response Team seeks to prevent gun violence

GBPD's eagle eye gives officers the ability to see what’s happening via remote access at all times.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 5:27 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A new long-term Neighborhood Response Team at the Green Bay Police Department is hard at work.

The team goes much deeper than making arrests and seizing guns. Their work is part of what will be a community-wide effort to restore peace and safety to all neighborhoods, as well as target what’s causing gunfire in the first place.

“The people who have to live there and they have their families there... they’re fed up with it, and they should be. They deserve to live in a safe place where they can raise their family without having to worry about this,” Officer Steven Meisner said.

Meisner and fellow Officer Miles Ganz are tired of the gun violence. That’s what drew them to their new assignment, the Neighborhood Response Team.

“It’s just a different way of doing policing and I like it,” Ganz explained.

They took WBAY-TV along to see their new work zone, which includes neighborhoods across the city where shots fired calls or other violence is being reported.

One neighborhood near Green Bay’s West Side has become a focus.

The department deployed its new “eagle eye” in front of a home on Cora Street. The cameras give officers the ability to see what’s happening via remote access at all times.

It’s as much meant to be a deterrent and offer reassurance to neighborhoods, as a violence spike in Milwaukee underscores the importance of being proactive.

“I mean, a lot of these kids live in these front rooms, and all it would take is a stray bullet to hit one of them,” Meisner said. “And we’ve been fortunate to this point we haven’t had that but... it’s only a matter of time.”

Two months in, the officers are getting to know some of who’s involved. Including a lot of 15 to 17-year-olds using guns to settle feuds.

“They just don’t like each other. Sometimes we don’t even know why they don’t like each other. It can be because of a girl, money, a fight, something like that,” said Ganz.

They’ve seized guns...

“Just different ghost guns, a lot of handguns, not many riffles. But a lot of handguns,” according to Meisner.

And made arrests. But they know that’s not a long-term solution.

Meisner continued, “I think our job is a longer process than just putting a couple of people in jail and hoping it ends.”

That’s where they need the community to help with information, but they know that only comes if there’s trust established.

The department is finding ways to build relationships. Earlier this week they grilled brats for neighbors over on Cora Street to show them they’re not going anywhere.

Word is out the team is at work—a good thing considering shots fired calls increase going into the summer.

So far this year, police responded to 20 such calls. Last year at this time, they responded to 25.

In the coming months, more community initiatives are likely to pop up as part of a long-term prevention effort.

Officers say teenagers between 15 and 17 years old are often at the center of the violence.

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