MILWAUKEE -- It's been a violent two weeks on Milwaukee County buses, but police say things were pretty quiet over the weekend, after Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn deployed officers to bus stops. Passengers say they don't know what to expect when riding the bus, but say the stepped up patrols is a move in the right direction.
Last week, Chief Flynn announced Milwaukee police officers will patrol certain bus routes to monitor County buses after recent violence. Milwaukee residents say they want the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department to increase security on the buses, but Sheriff David Clarke says there's a lack of resources, and he has no money to increase security. "I'm not a big fan of using budget shortfalls to terrorize the public. We get paid to protect people, not to come up with excuses why we can't," Chief Flynn said last week.
Chief Flynn was on FOX6's Real Milwaukee Monday, and safety on County buses was one of the topics he touched on. "We're a busy police department. We've got a lot going on. We're not rolling in money, but if people feel the need to be protected, and feel the need to see us, then we have a responsibility to step up," Flynn said Monday.
FOX6 also spoke with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele Monday regarding Sheriff Clarke's claims that he doesn't have adequate resources to provide security on County buses, and Abele says the public safety portion of Sheriff Clarke's budget has been kept intact. "His budget is exactly what it's been all year. The budget that he's talking about hasn't gone into effect yet," Abele said. Abele says incidents on County buses are down 17 percent since 2006. The County contracts with a private company for additional security on buses.
Cathryn Nelson says she has witnessed violence on County buses before, and says it's alarming. As more surveillance videos of attacks on buses are released, there's mounting concern for Nelson, and other passengers. "I'm a senior citizen, and I've seen a lot of things on the bus. I don't know what the world is coming to," Nelson said.
The Milwaukee Police Department says there were 290 bus checks over the weekend. The officers focused on several routes and say there were no reported problems.