Green Bay police getting criminal guns off the streets

The police chief discusses their strategy after a recent arrest netted 3 illegally possessed guns
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:05 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Police Department is continuing its efforts to reduce gun violence in the community.

During a felony arrest last weekend, officers were able to take three illegally possessed guns off the streets.

Police Chief Chris Davis says three guns may not seem like a lot to people, but he says every gun no longer in the hands of a criminal is a good thing and is progress in an ongoing fight to curb gun violence. A recent post about it on Facebook received a lot of praise from community members.

Chief Davis says it’s an ongoing process.

“It’s important for us to get as many of those crime guns off the street as possible,” he said. “There’s work to be done on a lot of different levels.”

One of those levels includes good police work and investigations day in and day out that lead to criminal guns off the streets and accountability for bad guys.

“There are lots of guns out in circulation in public that are never going to be used in crimes, but the ones that are misappropriated and they’re in the hands of people who intend to use them to commit crimes, those are the ones who want to get off the streets.”

So far this year, Green Bay officers have made 21 arrests for gun-related charges, which could include unlawfully possessing a gun. Davis says that’s a 29 percent increase from the department’s four-year average.

“In the past, you were less likely, I think, to encounter people engaged in other criminal activity like drug dealing or property crimes who are armed. And it seems like we are seeing more of that and it’s almost like an arms race. It’s almost like, well, I know a lot of the people that I’m feuding with are armed so I have to be armed too, and then it just, it just snowballs from there, but we are seeing more guns just out there on the street than we have in the past.”

So far, Chief Davis says the department has responded to the same number of “shots fired” incidents this year as last year, sitting at 45 calls.

Although it’s not an uptick, Davis says he’s not satisfied as he’s noticing other modifications with large capacity magazines.

“The guns that we recovered on that incident didn’t have these, but they’re really simple modifications that we’re seeing to handguns to increase the rate of fire. And then we’re seeing at scenes where shots are fired a lot more shell casings, indicating a lot more rounds are being fired during incidents. And so that’s a pretty troubling pattern.”

He hopes to add two more officers to his neighborhood response team soon.

“It’s a different than the approach that we’ve had in the past that it’s not all about statistics,” Davis said. “They’re focusing where the problems actually are.“

He says another piece of the overall gun violence reduction strategy is “understanding better that pipeline of how guns get into the wrong hands, to look for those opportunities to prevent that.”

He says that includes responsible gun ownership.

“Whatever you do,” he said, “don’t leave a firearm in a car.”

Police continue efforts to reduce gun violence in the community. In one arrest they took three illegally-possessed guns off the streets.