The Milwaukee Police Department and Cranial Rectal Inversion

As I was going about my own business doing property inspections in the hood earlier this week I witnessed something so unbelievable I had to write about it. I had just finished working at a property and was getting ready to cross the street to return to my car when I heard a car engine accelerating at an Indy Car pace. Looking down the street I saw a police car heading at a high rate of speed from the other end of the block without its siren on. He passed me in less than five seconds, which means he was travelling in excess of sixty miles an hour* in a residential area. I looked across the street at a woman standing on her porch with two preschool aged children and said that I was glad her kids weren’t playing in the street when he came flying past.

Obviously, the police were trying to chase someone who was fleeing on foot. The neighborhood was crawling with squad cars, and since my route kept me in the area for another fifteen minutes I had ample opportunity to watch them driving back and forth trying to find whatever hardened criminal they were looking for. My problem is that I can’t justify endangering the public’s safety – and especially the safety of children – by driving at such a reckless pace in residential areas. I don’t care what the person they were looking for had done, there is nothing that justifies putting the public at that kind of unnecessary risk while trying to apprehend an alleged criminal. As the woman I spoke with correctly pointed out, had that officer struck a child the story would have been that the child “jumped out” in front of him – but at 88 feet per second it would have been the speed which killed the child, even if he or she did “jump out.” According to the website, the stopping distance for a vehicle travelling at 60 miles per hour is just over 302 feet – more than half a block. Let’s be clear, there is no stopping for anyone less than half a block away at 60 miles per hour.

We have a real problems with our priorities in our cities. We should, of course, be concerned about apprehending criminals and making urban areas safer. When police officers drive at irresponsible speeds in residential areas, it is they who are endangering the citizens much more than anyone they could be attempting to apprehend. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Edward Flynn, are you listening?


*For those interested in the math, a Milwaukee city block is one tenth of a mile, or 528 feet. A car travelling at 60 miles per hour covers 88 feet per second, which means it would take six seconds to travel a city block. When I first saw him he was a few houses from the end of the block, and I was three houses from the other end, so five seconds would indicate a speed of about 60 mph.

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