Police chief gives Optimist Club rundown on local crime, other department activities
Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey gave members of the Kenosha Optimist Club a rundown on crime statistics over the last year.
“It was mostly good news, with no homicides last year, and robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries down,” Morrissey said.
Thefts increased, but Morrissey said that was not completely surprising.
“I think economy wise that’s to be expected,” Morrissey said.
Morrissey was speaking at the Optimist Club’s annual Respect for Law Enforcement event, held at Baker’s Street in Kenosha. Here is some video of all of Morrissey’s comments on crime reporting (I apologize for the poor lighting — DH):
Other tidbits from Morrissey’s remarks:
- The chief praised the community service officer program, which uses non-sworn personnel to handle parking enforcement and animal control. Morrissey stressed that the program created six new city jobs while at the same time saving city taxpayers about $50,000 over previous practices. The program also added parking enforcement to weekends and second shift. “I think some of the citizens aren’t used to having weekend or second shift parking enforcement,” Morrissey said. “There has been an increase in parking citations, but those were the complaints coming into my office saying we weren’t doing enough parking enforcement.”
- In answer to a question from the audience, the chief pre-empted the planned announcement that the department will be going back to a black and white paint scheme on police cruisers, as of a recently placed order for 10 new squads. The new vehicles also will be Ford Police Interceptors; patrol officers now drive Chevrolet Impalas. The motto “To Protect and Serve” will also return to the cars. Morrissey pointed out that there is a study that says crime is lower in communities with black and white cruisers, but added “I don’t know how much faith you put in that study.”
- “The Kenosha Police Department is the third largest police force in the state, behind only Milwaukee and Madison,” Morrissey said. There are about 120 officers that patrol the streets, with as many as 26 on the streets per shift, depending on which shift and other conditions such as vacations and sick leave. Is that enough? Morrissey said: “Well, if you asked me, I’d always like to have more, but I do think the officers we do have provide enough service, at least the basic service. I think we’re right in the ballpark of where we should be.”
- Look for a new video from the police department later this year in the same vein as recent parodies of the 12 Days of Christmas and the Monster Mash. The working title: “Christmas Crossing Guard.”
Capt. Lawrence Apker of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department also spoke at the event. He contrasted the operations of the police department with the sheriff’s department, pointing out that patrol is much smaller than the Sheriff’s Department’s operations. Running the jail is about 66 percent of the Sheriff’s Department’s operation. On Thursday morning, the county was housing 950 inmates.
Youngsters who won bikes through an Optimist Club contest at its Kenosha Expo booth also were recognized at the meeting. The winners were Kasidi Gayheart, Jared Heinzen, and David Gaytan.
The Tremper Octagon Club also gave a short explanation of its activities.