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Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs has introduced Common Council legislation that would require the Milwaukee Police Department to disclose its current inventory of military-grade equipment – and a notice to the Council before it could purchase any such equipment.
The two files – not yet assigned for a Council committee review – would require the MPD to provide notice to the Council about any planned purchases of militaristic or military-grade equipment, including weapons and items for tactical use. During today’s meeting of the Finance and Personnel Committee, discussion briefly focused on the disclosure that MPD is seeking bids on masks and a tactical (chemical) product that can be used as an irritant when aerosolized or sprayed.
Currently, MPD is not required to provide notice to the Council when seeking bids on such militaristic items.
MPD is reportedly seeking the aerosol item purchase in lieu of the Democratic National Convention, scheduled to take place in Milwaukee in August.
Alderwoman Coggs said she believes it is important for the Council to be made aware of the inventory of military-grade equipment in MPD’s possession. “We have seen questionable tactics used by Milwaukee Police during the recent protests against injustices, including smoke grenades to disperse peaceful protesters,” she said.
“In the spirit of transparency and accountability with the public, I believe it is important for the Council to be aware of the kinds of militaristic equipment that MPD is planning to purchase with taxpayer dollars. I look forward to having this discussion in public very soon with my colleagues and representatives from MPD,” Alderwoman Coggs said.