City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention Spring 2018

The City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) was established to coordinate city efforts to promote the preservation of life through strategies that prevent death and injury caused by violence.

City of Milwaukee Health Department

Since 1867, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) has served the residents of the city of Milwaukee, seeking to improve and protect the health of all who live, work, and play within the city. Nearly 150 years later, the MHD remains steadfast in this mission. The MHD is the largest local health department in the state of Wisconsin, serving nearly 600,000 citizens through direct services, evidence-based programs, partnerships, and policy development. Through it’s ongoing partnership with the UW Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health, MHD is marrying innovative research with cutting edge programs.


As the United States became more successful in preventing and treating many infectious diseases, homicide and suicide rose in the rankings of causes of death. Since 1965, homicide and suicide have consistently been among the top 15 leading causes of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The risk of homicide and suicide reached epidemic proportions during the 1980s among specific segments of the population. Suicide rates among adolescents and young adults 15 to 24 years of age almost tripled between 1950 and 1990. Similarly, from 1985 to 1991 homicide rates among 15 to 19 year-old males increased 154 percent, a dramatic departure from rates of the previous 20 years for this age group. This increase was particularly acute among young African American males. These trends raised concerns and provoked calls for new solutions.

Across the country LHD’s play a critical role in protecting and improving community safety in coordination and collaboration with local, state, and national partners. LHD’s protect and improve community wellbeing by preventing disease, illness, and injury and affecting social, economic, and environmental factors fundamental to health.

In 2016 the city allocated resources to restructure and expand the Office of Violence Prevention. In less than two years, the staff of OVP has nearly tripled from 2 to 7 full time staff and invested over 1 million dollars in community based violence prevention efforts.


Reggie Moore, Director

David Muhammad, Community Violence and Injury Prevention Manager

Sumaiyah Clark, ReCast Milwaukee Manager

Sherri Edwards, Administrative Assistant

Karin Tyler, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator

Vacant, Violence Prevention Research and Evaluation Coordinator

Vacant, Youth Violence and Injury Prevention Coordinator

Programs & Initiatives

Trauma Response Initiative

ReCast Milwaukee

Ceasefire Milwaukee

Human Trafficking Taskforce

Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Safe Visitation and Exchange Center

Blueprint for Peace


The Office of Violence Prevention engages a wide range of partners to facilitate evidence-informed approaches to influence the social, behavioral, and environmental factors that contribute to violence. OVP convenes agencies, experts, and community resources to implement strategies to address domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking, suicide, gun violence, intentional injury, homicide, and trauma resulting from exposure to violence.

Milwaukee Trauma Response Initiative

In 2015 the City of Milwaukee launched a trauma informed first responder initiative in partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee County. This effort focuses on breaking the cycle of violence by promoting healing through counseling and other mental health supports for children exposed to violence.

City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention and the Milwaukee County Mobile Urgent Crisis Treatment Team provides Trauma Response training to Milwaukee Fire Department command staff. All EMT's and Fire Fighters will receive training by summer 2018.

Since 2015 over 400 referrals have been made to the program and over 200 children and families have accepted services.


In 2016 OVP partnered with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Precious Lives and Quad Graphics to produce a gun safety guide to increase public awareness about laws and consequences related to improper firearm storage, and use.

In addition to the guide, Mayor Tom Barrett and Alderwoman Milele Coggs partnered with Andre Lee Ellis, West Care Inc., Milwaukee Police Department and City of Milwaukee Health Department to offer free gun locks to the community. Over 1,000 locks have been distributed in 2017 in partnership with West Care Inc. Locks can be picked up at West Care with limited quantities available at City of Milwaukee Health Center locations.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs
West Care Youth Organizers

In 2016, Milwaukee Health Department was awarded a competitive federal grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for its national Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) initiative. Milwaukee was one of 8 cities awarded this 5 year, 5 million dollar grant. ReCast is the largest grant ever received by the Office of Violence Prevention to date.

National ReCast Grantee Meeting, Washington, DC

The focus of ReCast is to address disparities in access to mental health and healing services among youth and families exposed to high rates of systemic and community trauma.

National ReCast Grantee Meeting, Washington, DC

Initial ReCast partners include:

My Sisters Keep Her

Parenting Network

Community Advocates

I Will Not Die Young

Employ Milwaukee

UW Milwaukee

Running Rebels Be The Change

Additional ReCast supported strategies and partners will be selected through community input process in 2018.


Created by the City of Milwaukee Common Council in 1979, the Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault provides Milwaukee with a multidisciplinary team of experts and community leaders that work together to increase safety for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and to hold perpetrators accountable and change their behavior.

The Commission convenes local agencies, institutions, and community members to coordinate Milwaukee's response to domestic violence and sexual assault. Appointed members of the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault include representatives of:

City of Milwaukee Mayor's Office

City of Milwaukee Common Council

Milwaukee Health Department

Milwaukee Police Department

Milwaukee County District Attorney Office

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Wisconsin State Legislature

Wisconsin Courts

Milwaukee Public Schools

Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare

Domestic Violence Service Providers

Sexual Assault Service Providers

Health Care Providers

Faith Community

Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Community Organizers


The Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee engages community partners to address four specific areas of concern: public awareness, service provision, education, and legislation.

Meetings of the Task Force are open to the public. The Task Force meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month from 2 - 4 pm. Location varies. Participants represent government agencies, community organizations, faith communities, community members, survivors, and family of survivors. Those who are interested in improving Milwaukee's response to human trafficking are invited to attend.

Men for Men Campaign to End Demand for Human Trafficking: Real Men Don’t Support Human Trafficking and Exploitation

The City of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention and its Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are partners of the Human Trafficking Task Force.


The Safe Exchange and Visitation program is a federally funded effort to provide a safe place for parent/guardians to conduct visitation and exchange of children. Families with a history of domestic and intimate partner violence find this program extremely useful in reducing the likelihood of violence re-occurring during visitation or custody exchanges. Over 200 families have used the center since its launch in 2016. This program is coordinated by the City of Milwaukee Health Department Office of Violence Prevention and led by a partnership that includes Sojourner Family Peace Center, Legal Aid of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Police Department, West Allis Police Department, and Children’s Hospital. This center is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Sojourner Family Peace Center at: 414-933-2722


On November 1, 2016 the city of Milwaukee launched the planning process for the Blueprint for Peace. City leaders, in addition to 150 community residents stood together to launch this aggressive 10 month process to address the most critical factors driving violence and despair in our city. In less than a year we have successfully drafted Milwaukee’s first ever comprehensive, community-driven, violence prevention strategy. This was done with leading support from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin, ReCast Milwaukee, Tides, and active participation across many sectors including state & local government, business, nonprofit, grassroots, law enforcement, judicial, education, faith, youth and survivors. Staff from the national Prevention Institute played a critical role in facilitating the planning process.

Milwaukee’s Plan.

This effort included significant community engagement and an intense assessment of local crime data, comparable city plans, and local and national best practices. This Blueprint is a reflection of the hopes and ideas of our community for building a safe and resilient city.

Blueprint Vision and Goals

A draft overview of the Blueprint was released for public review and feedback during the Mayor’s Ceasefire Sabbath in May 2017. After a series of additional community listening sessions, the Steering Committee made edits to the Blueprint to incorporate community feedback. The Blueprint is set for release in the coming weeks.

Mayor’s 2017 Ceasefire Sabbath

During the summer months of 2015 and 2016 the City of Milwaukee invested in a community based conflict prevention and de-escalation program known as Safe Zones. The program targeted hot spot areas within Garden Homes and Franklin Heights.

After implementation of Safe Zone discontinued in 2017, OVP restructured its neighborhood-based violence interruption strategy to include an internationally recognized approach to this effort known as Cure Violence. Working in partnership with local community organizations and individuals, OVP is launching a coordinated violence interruption strategy known as Ceasefire Milwaukee.

Site visit with Ceasefire teams in Chicago and Baltimore

Ceasefire Milwaukee will focus on preventing retaliatory gun violence, including homicides and non-fatal shootings, through strategic, timely, and coordinated efforts among residents and first responders, including mental health providers, community health workers, and others.

OVP has extensively researched similar models in Baltimore, New Orleans, Chicago, Oakland, and New York City. This is a key strategy identified within Goal 1 of the Blueprint for Peace focused on reducing the number of shootings and homicides in priority neighborhoods.

Ceasefire Milwaukee will launch in 2018


Started by Ajamou Butler in 2011, Heal the Hood is an annual event that promotes community building, self-determination, healing, and public safety. In 2017 the Office of Violence Prevention partnered with Heal the Hood as its lead sponsor to expand the event from an annual 2-day event in one neighborhood to an 8-day event across 4 neighborhoods throughout the summer. Heal the Hood successfully reached over 3,000 residents in critical areas of the city.


The Office of Violence Prevention is a significant supporter of community-led efforts to promote safe and resilient schools, families, and neighborhoods. We have supported a range of resident-led events including block parties, vigils, leagues and other activities including: The Alternative, Pepp Nation, Juneteenth Youth Stage, Bronzeville Days, Justice for Emani Block Party, Parent Em in Muskego Way, Prayer Walk for Justin Evans, and the Seville Smith Backpack Give-away at Sherman Park.


The Office of Violence Prevention partnered with We Got This Inc. led by Andre Ellis to support weekly youth engagement, orchard expansion, and the building of hoop houses in partnership with students from MSOE. This effort will support a year-round youth engagement model using urban agriculture as a method of prevention, healing, and community-building.

Special Partnerships

This summer, Beyond the Bell Milwaukee, 371 Productions, Hanson Dodge Creative, Rokkin Cat Software and the Office of Violence Prevention partnered to redevelop Beyond the Bell’s mobile app. This resource app contains programs and services for youth in Milwaukee. It will literally put hundreds of youth programs and services in the palm of the community’s hand! First launched two years ago, this app is a complete overhaul of the original app informed by youth from concept to design. The new app will be available for Android and IPhone in October 2018!

OVP summer interns map youth programs for Beyond the Bell mobile app.
371 Production and Rokkin Cat previews app for Beyond the Bell partner agencies.

Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a two-year, 100-part radio series about young people and gun violence in Milwaukee. Precious Lives has played an instrumental role in capturing the stories and impact of gun violence in Milwaukee. The content of this series has provided important community insight to inform the work of the Office of Violence Prevention.



Photos by Milwaukee Independent, Art Saves Lives, Office of Violence Prevention and open source images.

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