Two public safety issues at stake for City of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Joint Finance Committee has voted to stop funding the Milwaukee Police Department's shot spotter program as well as eliminate the rule that the State Crime Lab must be located in Milwaukee.

The decisions are causing a bit of controversy.

MPD's shot spotter program allows officers the ability to track where gun shots are coming from.

"We can now get there quickly. We have a better idea of what we're looking for and where we're looking for things," said Officer Viera. "We certainly use it more often and can see exactly where shots are coming from."

Republican State Senator Alberta Darling voted in favor of removing the Police Department's funding for the program.

"Milwaukee can invest more in community policing. That they have every right to change their resources to that if they think it's a good idea," said Darling.

Democratic State Representative Jon Richards disagrees.

"No one can give a reason for why this money's being taken away. It's a good proven program that helps us reduce violence in the city of Milwaukee. That's something everyone says they're in favor of," said Richards.

Richards also opposes the committee's vote to eliminate the rule that the State Crime Lab has to be in Milwaukee.

"When the crime lab is in the city of Milwaukee, it's much easier for the police department to use and that's why it should be here. The Milwaukee Police Department is by far the largest user of the state crime lab," said Richards.

Darling, however, voted in favor of the change.

"It's an issue of the building being in disrepair and the neighborhood has some concerns for several of the people who work there. The crime lab has grown and has really outgrown its space," said Darling.

Although the two issues have been passed by the Joint Finance Committee, the budget still has to go to the entire Legislature before anything is officially passed.