Public Information Manager/City of Milwaukee/Public Information
There has been quite a buzz on social media about last night’s WISN-TV news report on the broken sex offender residency issue here in Milwaukee. The investigative report detailed how the state is regularly shuffling homeless sex offenders in and out of Milwaukee neighborhoods and areas where they don’t belong – even near schools.
The problem – something COMMON COUNCIL PRESIDENT MICHAEL J. MURPHY and ALDERMAN JOSÉ G. PÉREZ have been urging state officials to fix for some time – is at a breaking point, President Murphy said.
“It is disgraceful, and it’s time for the Governor and the Department of Corrections to come up with an equitable and fair solution for all municipalities in Wisconsin,” President Murphy said.
“We don’t need the state circumventing our ordinance and putting these offenders in places they don’t belong, because it is obviously not a solution,” President Murphy said. “What we need is a coordinated approach and a solution to a serious problem that is of clear statewide concern.”
Alderman Pérez, who proposed even tighter restrictions on sex offender residency rules in Milwaukee after he learned late last month that a convicted offender had been living in a home directly across the street from Allen-Field Elementary School, said he fears the current situation will lead to “unintended negative consequences.”
“I fear that what the state Department of Corrections is doing will directly jeopardize the public safety of our citizens,” Alderman Pérez said. “And it’s sad because it is a state administrative policy that is leading to the potential endangerment of citizens, even children. That is bad public policy, period.”
In an April 9 letter to Governor Walker about the issue, President Murphy noted that all municipalities in Milwaukee County have restrictions determining where sex offenders may not reside. In the letter he wrote: “This patchwork of ordinances, all varying in scope of limitations, proves this is not a City of Milwaukee issue, but rather a municipal one in general. The public safety challenges the patchwork of ordinances pose to the general public — indeed the unintended consequences of compromising public safety as described by your own Secretary of the Department of Corrections — lead any rational policymaker to conclude that the matter of sex offender residency is of
statewide concern, requiring uniformity for every city and village.”