Students demand a hiring freeze on campus police.
(Fight Back! News/staff)
Milwaukee, WI – On December 12, members of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) delivered a petition demanding a hiring freeze be placed on the UWM police department. The petition, part of the SDS “Chop from the Cops” campaign, had hundreds of signatures.
While the UWM administration claims there are no plans to hire more cops on campus, the petition demands the university make a tangible commitment to not hire any additional staff to an already bloated police department. UWM PD has the second highest budget for campus police departments in Wisconsin, at over $3 million.
“In practice, a hiring freeze means less money spent on positions for the PD, it leaves more money to support student services like mental health resources, multicultural student services, the LGBTQ center all which are severely underfunded and understaffed,” said Trenton Houck of SDS. While UWM PD staffs around 50 people, the vast majority of cases they respond to are for drug and alcohol violations, non-violent events which typically result in exorbitant charges.
Other cases police respond to are mental health crises, which they are unequipped to appropriately handle. Incidents of students being attacked by UWM police are all too frequent and have even escalated to a homeless student being shot on campus by police in 2019.
“We need to be putting money into these services that actually help students instead of the police officers who actively harm students,” Houck said.
The hiring freeze is only the first part of UWM SDS’s Chop from the Cops campaign as they move forward to demilitarization and ultimately replacing the police department with basic campus security and crisis response teams.
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