I went to roll call today. It was the morning roll call of bicycle officers for the Milwaukee Police Department.
Picture this - more than 60 uniformed officers with their bikes, lined up for orders on the front steps of one of our most beautiful buildings, our Washington High School. It was 9:30 a.m., and students were in classes, probably finding it hard to concentrate knowing that the last day of school before summer vacation is just a day away.
That impending start to summer vacation is why Police Chief Ed Flynn and Neighborhood Task Force Captain Don Gagliano decided to hold roll call on the steps of the high school.
This “Schools out/Roll call in the street” signals the start of two days of concentrated bike patrols at seven MPS high schools and their surrounding neighborhoods. The schools are Washington, Pulaski, Bay View, Hamilton, Bradley Tech, South Division and JMAC. I welcome the support.
This is a proactive activity. The officers interact with our kids, sometimes getting off the bikes and walking through the schools. It’s an effort to send a message that the community, the school district and the police want a safe end of year dismissals – and a safe summer overall.
We are coming off a school year in which we lost eight children to violent death, mostly gunfire. I encourage families to be watchful this summer. I worry for the children. Bike officers, as well as officers on foot or in squads will also be watchful, but there is no substitute for the ability of an individual child to make good decisions. That’s my best hope – for thousands of good decisions to be made, and that all the children come back to us in September.