Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

FPC Announces Three Finalists for Police Chief

All outsiders, although one finalist has Milwaukee ties.

By - Oct 22nd, 2020 05:52 pm
Malik Aziz, Chris Davis and Hoyt Mahaley. Images from the Dallas Police Department, Portland Police Bureau and FBI.

Malik Aziz, Chris Davis and Hoyt Mahaley. Images from the Dallas Police Department, Portland Police Bureau and FBI.

The Fire and Police Commission (FPC) narrowed its search for a new Milwaukee police chief to three candidates, all currently working outside of Wisconsin.

The finalists are Dallas Police Department Major Malik Aziz, Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief Chris Davis and FBI Supervisory Special Agent Hoyt Mahaley.

Mahaley is the lone figure with a known local connection. He is a graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools and previously worked for the Milwaukee Police Department.

Five of the seven FPC commissioners interviewed the candidates one-by-one in a closed session on Monday evening. Commission chair Nelson Soler said Thursday morning that he sat out the process. He previously voted against interviewing the candidates in closed session, preferring a public interview process. Vice-chair Angela McKenzie also voted against the private interviews and sat out the process.

The commission voted last week to proceed with private interviews for the six finalists and then at least two public meetings where the public could ask questions of the candidates. Soler said he believed there was a previous agreement of interviewing the candidates in public.

“This is one of the most important positions in the City of Milwaukee, and the Board of Commissioners have identified three finalists who are most qualified to lead this critical agency during these pivotal times,” said FPC executive director Griselda Aldrete in a press release. Aldrete staffs the commission board and does not get a vote in selecting a chief. “Each finalist will participate in a public and rigorous community engagement process, which will be instrumental in the final hiring decision.”

Members of the public can submit questions to fpc@milwaukee.gov or via a web-based comment form in advance of a formal meeting announcement.

A final candidate is expected to be selected in early December.

Eleven candidates applied by the September 11th deadline after the FPC demoted Chief Alfonso Morales in August. Morales would shortly thereafter retire. He is now suing the city over the matter.

During a September closed-session, the commission narrowed the field to six. It has not released the names of the five other finalists.

Eliminated from the search are current MPD assistant chief Jeffrey Norman, Pittsburgh Police Department commander Jason Lando and John E. Pate, a former suburban Chicago police chief and current Florida city manager.

The commission’s process has not been universally endorsed.

“It is disappointing to see the only local eliminated from the prior to any vetting by the community,” said Office of Violence Prevention director Reggie Moore via text message. “The FPC publicly committed to an open and transparent process. There is too much at stake to get this wrong.

Common Council members, led by Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, were critical of the changes and perceived lack of outreach Thursday morning. Aldrete defended the process as transparent.

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