Law Enforcement risk their lives daily to serve and protect our communities. Just this week, an officer was shot here in Wisconsin responding to a domestic violence call. Law enforcement step in to protect victims of domestic violence daily. These are some of the most dangerous calls to which they respond. Domestic violence takes its toll in metropolitan areas and rural communities alike. In Wisconsin so far this year, 50 lives have been lost to domestic violence. There are numerous cases in which law enforcement have intervened at the scene, when violence has turned deadly. Please take the time to show your support for law enforcement. Thank an officer today.
July 17, 2016
Milwaukee police turn to two-person squad teams after officer shooting
In the wake of a shooting that seriously injured a Milwaukee police officer early Sunday morning as he sat in his squad car, the Milwaukee Police Department is sending all officers out in two-person squad teams.
All seven Milwaukee police districts were instructed to use two-person squads “effective immediately and until further notice,” Assistant Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Authorities identified the wounded Milwaukee police officer as Brandon Baranowski. He was being treated for serious injuries after being shot while seated in the front seat of his squad car.
Baranowski, 31, is a father and husband as well as a 13-year MPD veteran.
“He is a very dedicated and hardworking employee,” Jessup said. “At that moment, he was doing his best to provide safety to a woman and child in the middle of a domestic violence situation.”
The shooting came on a day in which at least three law enforcement officers were killed in Baton Rouge, La. The city has been scrutinized after its officers fatally shot Alton Sterling, 37, on July 5 while he was pinned to the ground. Sterling was black and the officers involved were white. It also follows the July 8 killings of five police officers in downtown Dallas.
Domestic violence calls
Two officers were dispatched in separate squad cars for domestic violence property damage calls in the 3500 block of S. 17th St. In each of the two incidents, the suspect was not at the scene when police arrived.
About 2 a.m. the suspect approached the passenger side of Baranowski’s squad car and fired multiple shots into the car, striking Baranowski several times in the arm and chest, police said. Baranowski was wearing body armor that protected him from the chest shots, said Mayor Tom Barrett, adding that Baranowski will “most likely” have surgery in the next day or two.
About 2:30 a.m., investigating officers heard a single shot and found a man dead of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. The deceased suspect is a 20-year-old West Allis man with an arrest record that includes two felonies. He is suspected in the domestic violence incidents for which the police were originally called and is believed to be the man who shot the officer.
In a statement Sunday night, the suspect’s family said the shooting of Baranowski was “not the result of any movement, political agenda, race or gender. It is the result of a young man who was suffering from profound emotional distress.”
The suspect’s family also said it was “deeply saddened by his desperate and misguided actions and would like to express our most heartfelt apologies to Officer Brandon Baranowski and his entire family as a result of this tragic incident.
The Milwaukee Police Association made a request for routine two-person officer teams in Milwaukee early Sunday morning in a statement about the shooting.
“With a partner seated next to our cop today would the outcome have been better? … I believe it would have been,” the association said in a written statement. “Two-man squads are essential in the ever-changing high-risk environment.”
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said the two-officer squads would “create a funding issue for any department or municipality around the country, but clearly more needs to be done to protect law enforcement.”
Barrett, however, said Milwaukee police can implement such squads with current resources.
Still, Ald. Bob Donovan, a frequent Barrett foe, believes Milwaukee lacks enough officers to police effectively.
“We are about 280 officers short of what our authority strength level was in 2008,” Donovan said. “One-man squads are not the best way to monitor our streets, especially in an urban environment.”
Denise Held, president of the Wisconsin chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, said city administrators are not doing enough to make sure officers come home safe each day.
“Anyone looking at crime trends in the city of Milwaukee will see that there are many issues and it’s getting worse,” Held said. “I would hope our administration would look at what’s happening, because it’s a scary time to be an officer.”
In the last eight years, nine officers have been shot in the city of Milwaukee, according to Barrett.
“I think we as Americans, we as Milwaukeeans, need to once again reassess the relationship between our police officers and our citizens,” Barrett said.