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Common Council passes resolution requiring its approval before Police can buy military-grade gear

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During the Milwaukee Common Council meeting on July 7, a resolution was adopted by all members that directs the Milwaukee Police Department to seek approval by the Common Council before any type of crowd-response, crowd-control, military-grade, and militaristic equipment can be purchased.

The resolution stated that the Police Department shall obtain approval by resolution from the Common Council before seeking to purchase, requisition or otherwise procure military-grade equipment from the city purchasing director using budgeted funds.

“This legislation was birthed out of community conversations and a desire for the public to know more about militaristic equipment and ensure greater oversight of the procurement process,” said Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, who introduced the item.

Additionally, the Police Department must obtain approval by resolution from the Common Council before it may seek to purchase, requisition, or otherwise procure military-grade equipment using special funds.

Military-grade equipment subject to this resolution is defined as any weapon or equipment typically employed by military entities in the course of armed conflict or for protection during an armed threat. Equipment intended for daily and routine use by a police officer in the course of executing normally assigned duties is not subject to the resolution.

“This is one small effort we can enact to provide more transparency with the public,” added Alderwoman Coggs. “I want to thank my colleagues for supporting this resolution and I want to thank those who continue to make their voices heard.”

The item was co-sponsored by Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Russell W. Stamper II, and Alderman José G. Pérez.

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