Apparently Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has absolutely no law enforcement experience whatsoever, seems to think he’s suddenly an expert on how to fight crime in Milwaukee.
“The city of Milwaukee has made errors over time, reducing the number of sworn officers that are actually hired and on the streets,” Vos told Wisconsin Eye.
“There’s been a dramatic decline in the number of officers who are patrolling, to the point where we actually have some squad cars where they’re saying, ‘go out by yourself,'” Vos said. “And then they find that somebody’s committing a crime and they have to wait for backup from another single-man squad car.”
“I think those are bad decisions that have been made by the city,”
For the record, Robin Vos has no experience serving as an elected representative for a large urban area, and from what I can tell he has never actually spent any significant amount of time residing in a large urban area, so I’m wondering how exactly he thinks he’s qualified to speak as an “expert” on any issue having to do with the City of Milwaukee.
In a statement released to the media, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn called into question Robin Vos’ qualifications to question policing strategies in the City of Milwaukee.
“While every spike in crime brings out the usual armchair chiefs issuing the usual armchair press releases, it is obvious that Representative Vos has been intentionally misinformed. I welcome the opportunity to have an adult conversation with him about Milwaukee’s crime fighting needs that moves beyond the sound bites.”
So when is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke going to apologize to Milwaukee County’s residents for being such a moron?
In a letter to a Republican member of the U.S. Senate, Clarke has issued an apology “on behalf of my constituents” for Flynn’s blunt Capitol Hill testimony last week in support of an assault-weapons ban.
The sheriff accuses Flynn of being “embarrassing” and “rude,” and hostile to gun rights in the letter, sent to South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, a member of the judiciary committee that heard Flynn’s testimony.
“Please do not see (Flynn’s) arrogance as exemplary of the people of Milwaukee County,” Clarke writes.
During testimony given to the United States Senate’s Judiciary Committee, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn called on Congress to pass a ban on new sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to civilians.
“How many people have to get murdered in a mass murder for it to be enough?” Flynn said toward the end of his testimony, invoking the Newtown, Conn., massacre in December.
“Is 20 babies enough to say these implements of murder should not be distributed? That’s what we’re asking!” Flynn said in comments that drew applause from those in the audience who were there to support the bill.
While I’m in agreement with Chief Flynn’s statements in support of bans on assault weapon and high-capacity magazine sales, I think the whole discussion about guns in our nation needs to start with efforts to implement universal background checks that close the “gun show loophole” and that include checks on whether an individual has serious mental illnesses or has been committed to a mental health facility.
Says Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn of students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:
“I view your students as ‘guests,’ since most do not own property in Milwaukee and they do not directly contribute to the tax base,” the chief continued. “As guests, they should be exhibiting appropriate conduct.”
Considering Ed Flynn does not actually own a home in Milwaukee – he rents an apartment – he’s hardly in a position to lecture about guests who don’t add to the city’s tax base.
As for guests in our city “exhibiting appropriate conduct,” Chief Flynn hardly seems in a position to judge what’s “appropriate conduct,” because I hardly think having an extramarital affair with a married journalist hardly constitutes “appropriate conduct” for the Chief of Milwaukee’s Police Department.
The fact is, despite Ed Flynn’s idiotic rhetoric, students at UWM do directly contribute to Milwaukee’s tax base. While students at UWM may not own property, the rent they pay does go towards the property taxes of their landlords, and further, those students pay their fair share of sales taxes for all the goods and services they need while they’re “guests” in Milwaukee.
Under a proposal co-written by Republican State Rep. Robin Vos and Republican State Senator Alberta Darling (pictured, right), the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, City of Milwaukee taxpayers would be forced to pay fired Milwaukee Police officers while they appeal their terminations.
In a statement about the proposal written by Rep. Vos and Sen. Darling, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn made it clear he’s not a fan of the proposal, saying, “All this bill does is allow the unscrupulous officers we fire for untruthfulness to game the system at taxpayer expense.” Flynn added, “It is well known that officers in that position delay justice as long as possible, collecting money for no work.”
Coincidentally, the Milwaukee Police Association, the union representing Milwaukee Police officers, supported primarily Republican candidates in the 2010 election, and it appears that support has paid handsome dividends. In addition to the current proposal to stick Milwaukee’s taxpayers with the bills for fired police officers, police officers were exempted from Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee budget “repair” bill, which eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public employees, and Republicans also put forth a proposal that would eliminate the residency requirement for City of Milwaukee employees.
Considering how Republicans were supposed to be in favor of “local control,” given their rhetoric during the debate over their push to eliminate virtually all collective bargaining rights for public employees, it seems curious to me (not to mention hypocritical) that Robin Vos and Alberta Darling would push a proposal that is essentially a state mandate to a local government, removing that local government’s control over how it handles employees who’ve been terminated.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting Willie Murphy, a sergeant with the Milwaukee Police Department, has been suspended for 20 days without pay for sending a text message to other supervisors urging them to tell officers to stop making traffic stops until problems with the department’s new digital radio system are addressed. According to a complaint filed against him, on September 23, 2009, Sgt. Murphy sent the text message while off duty and from his personal cell phone to 33 other supervisors in the Milwaukee Police Department, and according to the complaint Sgt. Murphy sent the message “in an attempt to initiate a protest related to the slow transition to the digital radio system” so as to “force the administration to immediately address concerns related to the radios and officers’ safety.” It’s been widely acknowledged there are problems with MPD’s new OpenSky digital radio system, a system that has cost taxpayers a total of $17 million to develop and implement. The system is plagued with dead spots and faulty equipment, and other cities using similar systems have scrapped OpenSky.
In a statement, Police Chief Ed Flynn said Sgt. Murphy’s actions were “contrary to the public interest of protecting our community,” and he went on to note “a supervisor who counsels co-workers to organize an illegal work stoppage is acting against the public interest and seriously jeopardizes public safety,” adding, “This is not a case of a ‘whistleblower.’ ”
Surprisingly, Glenn “Thugs” Frankovis, himself a failed candidate for police chief in Milwaukee, has come out in support of Sgt. Murphy’s actions, saying, “Hopefully someone will let us know the date, time and location of the appeal hearing before the FPC. If I’m in town, I intend to be there to support Sgt. Murphy.” It’s curious to me that Glenn Frankovis, a guy who’s supposed to be all about ‘law and order,’ would support officers not doing traffic stops (which, the last time I checked, was still in their job descriptions) in order to send police administration a message regarding the flawed radio system. While I’m not a police officer, I know all too well how important traffic stops can be in detecting other criminal activity, such as possession of illegal drugs or guns, driving without a license, or perhaps individuals with outstanding warrants, and it’s frankly a little shocking to hear a long time police officer – and supervisor – openly supporting calls for officers to stop doing parts of their jobs.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm all expressed concern Wednesday about the effects that the early release of some prisoners as a result of Wisconsin Act 28 could have on the city of Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections granted early release to 21 prisoners this month, the first group of offenders to be released under Wisconsin Act 28, a plan devised by state Democrats to relieve prison overcrowding and save money.
“This is going to have an effect on us,” Flynn said. “That’s undeniable, particularly in light of the fact that we have insufficient probation and parole officers to monitor (offenders’) behavior. If there’s a point I want to make, a takeaway here as we confront 2010, it’s that disinvestment in criminal justice is a false economy.
“We think we’re saving money, but we’re not really saving money because these costs are going to be reflected in what happens to crime victims and their property, medical treatment, insurance cases, and the reputation of neighborhoods as being safe for business. There is a cascading effect that can be very negative.”
Flynn, Barrett and Chisholm met with Corrections Secretary Rick Raemisch last week to discuss the early release program.
All three local officials said more investment in re-entry programs for released prisoners is necessary.
“We have to have resources for additional probation and parole agents in Milwaukee and for legitimate re-entry programs and support so that people who are being released are not just being put in a position where they’re going to recommit crimes,” Barrett said.
While the first 21 offenders released under the conditions of Wisconsin Act 28 are categorized as “nonviolent,” I’m willing to bet it won’t be long before offenders with records that include violent offenses are released from prison before having served their entire sentences, and that’s a recipe for disaster for a community that’s made great strides towards becoming more safe.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, former Waukesha County District Attorney (and current jilted spouse) Paul Bucher is alleging Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn has continued his extramarital affair with Jessica McBride, a journalist and lecturer at UWM. Chief Flynn has denied that the affair has continued, saying, “I regret that Mr. Bucher genuinely believes that I continued an extra-marital affair with his wife. I did not.”
While he denied any continuation of his affair with Jessica McBride, Chief Flynn did acknowledge he and McBride have continued to communicate with each other since news of the affair first broke several months ago:
“I cannot deny that she and I have communicated and that we met once. Since my statement in June, there has not been, nor is there, an ongoing affair,” Flynn said. “I will not be drawn further into a public discussion about a pending divorce proceeding.”
For the second time since the affair between Jessica McBride and Ed Flynn came to light, Paul Bucher has filed for divorce from McBride, and he has called for Chief Flynn to resign “because he is a public official, I believe he needs to be held accountable.” Bucher went on to add the affair has “crushed” Bucher’s family. As in the previous divorce filing, Bucher, is asking for primary placement of their 4-year-old daughter, child support and maintenance.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission have stood by Chief Flynn, citing his performance since taking over as Milwaukee’s Police Chief and indicating his personal life has no bearing on his fitness to serve as Police Chief.
After seven years as Police Chief of the city of Los Angeles, William Bratton is retiring. Under Bratton, Los Angeles has seen declining crime rates since 2003, and during his tenure he pushed hard to reform the LAPD, increase departmental transparency, increase minority recruitment, and institute community policing.
Chief Bratton was a believer in the “Broken Windows” theory of policing, much like Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, which brings me to the possibility of Ed Flynn leaving the Milwaukee Police Department. Flynn’s career has been marked by upward movement, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see his name on a short list of possible replacements for Bratton in Los Angeles. Flynn has done a good job during his tenure as Milwaukee’s Police Chief, and that will no doubt merit strong consideration if he allows himself to become a candidate for LA’s Police Chief position. Whether Chief Flynn would leave Milwaukee remains to be seen, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to make a move to a much larger police department like the LAPD.
Led by Lamont Harris, an ardent supporter of disgraced former Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee, a citizen’s group has filed a complaint against Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn after the chief admitted to having an extramarital affair with former Journal Sentinel reporter Jessica McBride, who wrote a story on Flynn for Milwaukee Magazine earlier this year. Harris said Chief Flynn violated state law and the city’s code of ethics when he had the affair with McBride.
It’ll be interesting to see where this complaint goes.