“The officers feel an utter lack of support from their city government and I think it makes it very difficult to take action — not just in a context of a large protest but just in run-of-the-mill encounters,” caring Police Chief Vic Wahl said in an interview Saturday with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“It doesn’t influence my decision making but I think, clearly, the officer on the street feels a lack of support and I’m sure it’s hard to ignore,” he said.
“The current approach of waiting until an officer is injured before taking enforcement action is untenable, both for the officers and the public,” Powers said. “Our current tactic clearly does nothing more than raise the willingness of the criminal elements we’re facing to keep pressing the envelope, and consequently expose us to even greater risks.”
Madison police union president Kelly Powers said without a change in practice, “one of us is going to be killed, or innocent lives could (be) lost.”
Wahl says the characterization of the department’s approach is inaccurate and that the department during every event like Tuesday’s seeks to balance the First Amendment right to protest and maintaining public safety.