"I don't bamboozle anybody:" Tempers flare at Public Safety Committee meeting discussing city's crime

MILWAUKEE -- The second meeting in a series of special meetings about crime in the city was held Friday, June 10th. This one included a presentation by the Milwaukee County district attorney and several assistant DA's.

Milwaukee's crime rate has been on the rise. Alarming enough for the city's Public Safety Committee to hold a series of special meetings to look for ways to combat crime.

This issue is clearly a hot button one as tempers flared inside Friday's meeting.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm began his presentation by explaining his office's role in keeping the community safe. He also gave the committee an idea of how large the problem is.

John Chisolm

"As of April 1st, there are currently pending in the Milwaukee Circuit Court system 5,805 criminal actions -- and let me be clear those are individual cases. Each one of those cases could include multiple multiple accounts," said Chisolm.

It didn't take long for Milwaukee Alderman Mark Borkowski to raise tensions, accusing the DA of "bamboozling" the committee with a bunch of numbers.

"Our offices are getting calls on an hourly basis, the city is burning down and again. I don't feel like I get a sense of urgency," said Borkowski.

Mark Borkowski

"First of all, I don't bamboozle anybody; quite frankly that's more in your realm. What I do is I prosecute cases aggressively when we have sufficient amount of evidence to prove those cases," said Chisolm.

The head didn't stop as the DA tried to further explain his position, Borkowski interrupted him.

"When was the last time you called out a judge for being soft," said Borkowski.

"My job isn't to call people out, Alderman," said Chisolm.

"Then your job is to let multiple offenders go back out," Borkowski fired back.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan jumped in, calling for civility.

"Alderman, that's enough, Alderman please show the respect to the DA that you would expect to get from him," Donovan said.

Chisolm told the committee his office is doing things no other DA in the country does.

"And that's put our prosecutors out in the community. So when you say I don't get those calls, you're wrong, I do. Because I am there with the community and my community prosecutors on a daily basis," Chisolm said.

District Attorney Chisolm added turnover at his office is also a problem -- saying low pay has caused 18 assistant DA's to leave the office and find work elsewhere in this past year.

The DA also said pointing fingers isn't going to solve the issue, which all parties agreed on.

The Public Safety Committee is asking for a concrete plan from the DA and his staff by August.