Green Bay police setting up task force to investigate gun violence

The task force could be deployed as early as this week.
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 10:28 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -The Green Bay Police Department is working to set up a task force within the department to address a surge of gun violence across the city.

Action 2 news first told you last week, police responded to eight shootings in the first five days of October .

Two more shootings were added to that list just this weekend.

In an update to the city’s Protection and Policy Committee, Police Chief Andrew Smith says a majority of the shootings are between people who know each other and their ages range between 17-26.

“We’re looking at 45 if we distill that number down to year to date. Last year, at this time we had 19. Our average, our usual range for this time of year is between 16 and 19,” said Chief Smith.

He says officers have identified about two dozen people who have been involved in 60 to 70 percent of the shootings, most stemming from a minor disagreement.

“This isn’t a big drug dispute, this isn’t a gang turf war or anything like that. This is individuals mad at each other because someone is dating someone else’s girlfriend, or dating a girl they used to date or things of that nature, really ridiculous things,” said Smith.

Now, the Chief is setting up a task force for four patrol officers and two detectives to specifically work on shooting incidents.

The task force could be deployed as early as this week.

“Their job is going to be to go out there during the times these shootings are occurring and try to catch these individuals involved, follow up with information from the detectives, find out who is doing it, take them into custody if we can,” said Smith.

Officers are also asking for help from community leaders and interventionists.

“You may recall a couple of years ago we had a big rise in some shootings. We met with the same individuals, immediately after that meeting, they reached out to the people involved and our shootings dropped down to zero and we went a couple months without a shooting,” said Smith.

The Chief says the department is also working with city leaders to address blighted neighborhoods where some of the shootings have been taking place.

Homicides have also doubled in the city compared to last year; Chief Smith reports six homicide investigations over last year’s three.

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