Evers announces $50M in federal money aimed at public safety

March 15, 2022 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday he’s sending another $50 million in federal money to police departments and court systems around the state.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports much of the spending will go to Milwaukee, where the Democratic governor announced his plans on the steps of the county courthouse.

Milwaukee County will get $14 million to expand hours and staffing as officials seek to whittle down a backlog worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Local and county police agencies around the state will share $19 million. Milwaukee police will get the largest amount, $3 million, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Evers, who is seeking a second term this fall against Republicans who have criticized him on public safety, said the spending is essential to push back against violence that “is not a foregone conclusion.”

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Evers last fall had announced an earlier round of $45 million in federal dollars aimed at public safety. On Tuesday, Republicans accused him of politicking.

“I can’t wait to see the campaign ad coming based on this announcement – it’s another obvious election year conversion by Governor Evers,” Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, a former law enforcement officer, said in a statement.

Homicides and violent crime spiked in Milwaukee over the last two years as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life, including through school closures and layoffs.

Milwaukee had 190 homicides in 2020, almost twice the number a year before and well above the 1991 record. The surge came after four years of steady declines.