MADISON, Wis. — Madison’s police chief says an effort to remove more criminals from the city’s streets amid an increase in violence is proving successful.

Chief Mike Koval said that in the first two weeks of the initiative, which is fueled by overtime pay to officers, nearly 30 people have been taken into custody and several criminals have left the city. There also haven’t been any homicides and fewer serious shots-fired incidents.

Many of those arrested are suspects in unresolved violent crimes. Koval said they were taken into custody for other less serious crimes in an effort to get them off the streets.

Koval said a key element of the initiative is that police also have received more confidential information from residents, which has led to numerous arrests. Officers have handed out more than 1,800 flyers seeking the community’s help in the initiative.

Koval told the Wisconsin State Journal that he thinks the initiative is boosting both officer and community morale.

“People are literally stopping me in the streets or wherever I happen to be and are saying, ‘Thanks, chief, we really appreciate the effort,'” Koval said.

Officers have responded to more than 10 calls for shots fired over the past two weeks. Many of those cases were unsubstantiated or were fireworks, Koval said.

Some critics have said the plan has racist overtones because Koval’s most-wanted list heavily features black criminals. Koval said most homicide victims this year have been African-American and that his response is seeking to protect the black community.

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal,

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