GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Green Bay Interim Police Chief Jim Runge stopped by Local 5 This Morning Thursday to discuss a rise in gun violence in the city.
“I think people are so cooped up over the winter, plus you throw Covid on top of it, I think it’s just creating more of that angst that built up negative energy,” Interim Chief Runge said.
According to Runge, in 2021, there have already been 29 shooting incidents in Green Bay.
Last year, there were only 13.
“It’s very alarming, and we need to stop this,” Commander Kevin Warych with the Green Bay Police Department said. “We need to do everything possible to make sure that we don’t see this gun violence continue.”
The GBPD has decided to take action.
“We wanted to deploy officers specifically to help in the neighborhoods, to gather intel, to focus our efforts, to make sure that we stop this gun violence from occurring to begin with,” Commander Warych said.
It’s called the Crime Suppression Unit.
“Their job is not so much to go and arrest offenders, but to make connections in the community,” Runge said, “try to de-escalate, try to find out who the actors are, the main players and get people to calm down and find other ways to resolve their conflict.”
The two officers in the unit work entirely on addressing gun violence in Green Bay.
“Understanding why it’s occurring, locating the peoplet that are associated to it, locating the people responsible for it, and then really gathering intel in our community that we as a police department know what’s going on,” Warych said.
The unit was created in 2020 and deactivated in February.
With the recent rise in shooting incidents, it’s back.
“We’re trying to deploy officers based on what the community needs at the present time,” Warych said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in two months, three months, six months from now, but at the present time we’re doing everything we can to stop this gun violence.”