Odell Ball, Less Crime, Safer Streets

There are several open seats on the Milwaukee Common Council and crime is one of the issues that many candidates are looking at. In this interview I talked with Odell Ball who is a candidate for District 9 on the northwest side of town. Odell states he was born and raised in Milwaukee. There were nine children in the family, six girls and three boys. He attended Rufus King high school where he played basketball. He was an All-City selection during that time playing the center position. His family did not have a lot of money, so he never attended the prom or other events. Upon graduation he attended Kent State for two years. Again, he continued to play basketball. Later he transferred to Marquette University but had to red shirt, sit out, his first year there. He had two good years and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the sixth round. He became the last player cut by the team and he ended up playing overseas.

He has had different jobs starting out as a liquor salesperson. Also, he worked at Burger King and KFC for a while. He eventually got a job at an alternative school and left there to teach at Jackie Robinson school. Odell attended law school for one year. There he learned about grant writing. At the school he taught the kids how to pt together and build their own computers. Many of you know that Odell is the husband of the new Milwaukee County Sheriff Denita Ball. He reports they have been married 34 years.

I asked why he wanted to run for council member? He said public service is part of him and a big part of his life. Things in the district are in repair. The old Northridge Mall really is dangerous and needs to be torn down. It is a magnet for crime and several fires have been started inside the building. He has walked a great part of the district while getting signatures and knows much work needs to be done. One thing he notices is here are a lot of vehicles speeding throughout the district and many are going really fast. He has looked at the data for the District Four police area. Murders are down but it is the other stuff that is causing problems. Things must be done in a unique way to get other crime issues under control.

Tabco is a road and sign company. They can put together a series of signs along a part of the street to advise people to slow down coming to an intersection. The signs are a few hundred or so apart notifying you of what’s coming up. It has been used in other places and seems to be working but it is costly and who would pay for it? Blink is a system that is stored on a common storage unit and would work in neighborhoods to help keep them safe. The police could get information off this server to catch criminals. He also thinks the city shot spotter should be expanded all over the city not just certain areas. Lastly after Northridge is torn down Odell thinks a regional Police/Fire training center would be a good fit for that area. We could train our own people plus others could come from the whole Midwest to train and pay for their training.

Greg Thompson

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