Community Justice Council focuses on violence prevention in Milwaukee, "an all hands on deck issue"

MILWAUKEE -- In a timely fashion, the focus of the Milwaukee Community Justice Council's "meeting of the whole" on Wednesday, August 24th was violence prevention.

The council meets monthly, and on Wednesday, the featured guest presentation came from those with the City of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention.

Community Justice Council


"Things that look insignificant. Things that look small trigger trauma that has existed in these people's lives that has never been addressed," a representative from the Office of Violence Prevention said.

Representatives from the Office of Violence Prevention explained there can be hidden triggers based on a person's past that can lead to violence.

"We need to lift up community-based, culturally-competent services for these people," a representative from the Office of Violence Prevention said.

The Milwaukee Community Justice Council includes the district attorney, chief judge, county executive, mayor and representatives from the Milwaukee Police Department -- who gather monthly to talk about the justice system in Milwaukee.

The meeting Wednesday came on the heels of unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood after the fatal officer-involved shooting of 23-year-old Sylville Smith on August 13th.

Reggie Moore

Reggie Moore, director of the Office of Violence Prevention welcomed the invitation.

"When we talk about violence prevention, it's an all hands on deck issue," Moore said.

They talked about understanding what works, what's missing and investing in things that work -- like crisis intervention through conflict resolution, and more.

Community Justice Council

"When we have folks returning from incarceration into our communities, we have to make sure we have the services to really reconnect, to remove barriers to employment. All of those things are factors  in violence prevention," Moore said.

Members of the audience seemed supportive, but at least one was cautiously optimistic.

Community Justice Council

"Cities like Milwaukee, where the culture and the intersection of race and class and, you know, all these things are so entrenched, it makes it even harder to do. They have to deal with the isolation of poor and community. I mean, you don't see that in other places," Patricia McManus with the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin said.

Community Justice Council

Moore said he hopes to engage these new partners in the strategic planning process to be launched in September.