Milwaukee Police launch new website… or is it a TV show?

Click here to witness it.

Go boldly, scroll, click, ‘experience’. Witness the drama, the grit, the pain. These guys are serious about the war on crime and terror. Tune in Saturdays at 9 for next weeks nail-biting show! Woah… hold up a second—this is a website for a local Police Department, where citizens of Milwaukee are expected to go to find out how to file an accident report or pay a parking ticket or to get some news about their local area. So why does it look like the latest HBO police show based around post-apocalyptic urban warfare in a dystopian police state?

Buried at the very bottom of this long and dizzying page are two words: ‘Vision’ and ‘Mission’, and if you mouseover them you get a demure box with some small type with the following words for each:

A Milwaukee where all can live safely and without fear, protected by a police department with the highest ethical and professional standards.

In partnership with the community, we will create and maintain neighborhoods capable of sustaining civic life. We commit to reducing the levels of crime, fear, and disorder through community-based, problem-oriented, and data-driven policing.

Live without fear? Protection? Community partnership? Civic life? But I just scrolled through seven levels of hell to get here—I saw riot police with pump action shotguns on the surface of the moon, I saw barren urban landscapes reminiscent of The Wire, riot police in full armour wielding automatic machine guns. It’s as if the people who conceptualised and designed this site just completely ignored the mission statements, which isn’t surprising because clearly their desks must have been buried three feet deep in crushed monster energy drink cans and DC comics.

The site was designed by Cramer-Krasselt, an advertising company who primarily create TV advertising slots for consumer brands and even worked on some Sopranos stuff for HBO—I thought I recognised that flipped on its side gun graphic. Evidently the fabled ad agency cocaine abuse of yore is alive and well, that can be the only explanation for producing such an aggressive, oppressive, fear-inducing, gimmick driven website under the premise of instilling a feeling of safety, trust and ‘community partnership’ within the citizens who live under the iron fists of these armoured-car driving robocops. I think I’d be worried about leaving my house. Make that definitely worried—I just realised that if you click on the police dog, he growls and barks at you. Wow.

What’s really disturbing is whether this is the reality behind how the Police see themselves now? Are they wanting to recruit overgrown teenage boys with Hollywood fuelled fantasies where they run around like soldiers with machine guns? It would also be interesting to know if the same committee that signed off on those Vision and Mission statements were the same people who signed-off on this creative, because if it was, they should all be asked to undergo screening for schizophrenia.

Soon enough we’ll all be getting pepper sprayed in the face.

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