'We have to do much more:' MPD Chief Alfonso Morales updates effort to combat reckless driving

MILWAUKEE -- City and county leaders are calling reckless driving an epidemic. On Thursday, Nov. 21, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales talked about the initiative the Milwaukee Police Department is implementing to combat the issue.

In the past two weeks, MPD has conducted 539 traffic stops -- 136 for speeding in excess of 20 miles-per-hour over the speed limit.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

"The people getting cited are not getting cited for five miles over. They’re getting cited for 20+ miles over, passing vehicles recklessly on the right-hand side -- and other things you are seeing," Morales said. "You need to pull over when you're involved in an accident, that's the law. You need to report this type of recklessness and also communicate it amongst you, your family, and your peers."

Chief Morales says there have been 44 fatal accidents this year -- eight of those were hit-and-run crashes. In the last 30 days, we had two hit-and-run crashes involving serious injuries to children -- and a hit-and-run where two children lost their lives. In the past week, a 13-year-old child was shot due to a road rage incident.

"We have to do much more. It's not a new issue. Prior to becoming chief, I stated that we were going to spend more time addressing reckless driving -- and we have, and we're going to continue," Morales said. "We have assigned motorcycle units to the districts. Motorcycle units at the districts have taken on more reports. In 2018, we saw an increase in accident reporting. But it was because we were actually responding to them, not that there was more going on. This year, we saw a slight decrease."

Chief Morales also spoke about police districts working with aldermen and alderwomen -- and campaigns like Take It EZ Milwaukee.

Take It EZ Milwaukee

As we head into the holiday season, Chief Morales says grant money will be used to target reckless driving.

"We are using grants, such as OWI, speeding and pedestrian safety. We will be addressing and using that OWI grant money to target reckless driving as it relates to driving under the influence," Morales said.

In the end, the chief said all community members are responsible when it comes to ending reckless driving.

"We are all involved in this recklessness and it has to stop," Morales said.

"The community has spoken loud and clear about their concerns about reckless driving. This is an issue we have to get on top of," said John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney.

John Chisholm