Fire & Police Commission Ties On Next Police Chief
Will meet again on December 10th.
The Fire & Police Commission deadlocked Thursday night on who will serve as the next Milwaukee Police Chief.
Aziz is a major within the Dallas Police Department.
The deadlock comes after the commission narrowed the field to three candidates in closed session in October and then held two public town hall meetings in November. Amidst a string of controversial meetings to ratify the chief selection process, Commissioner Raymond Robakowski resigned setting up a potential tie.
That tie came to fruition Thursday night after the commissioners went one by one giving a brief speech and announcing their vote.
Both Aziz and Mahaley drew praise for their performance in the town hall and credentials.
“I like the way that he explained himself every question that he answered was thorough and sound,” said Cocroft of Aziz. Both Cocroft and McKenzie praised his performance when five Dallas police officers were shot and killed in 2016. “He was able to manage a situation that was very scary, to be quite frank, in a very calm manner,” said McKenzie.
Aziz is the former head of the National Black Police Association. “Being a chief for Mr. Aziz is his next logical step and I believe that this city could really benefit from his leadership,” said McKenzie.
“I really thought his focus was implementing policies that would change the culture within Milwaukee. That was something he brought to the table and there was no question about that,” said McKenzie of Aziz.
Mahaley drew virtually equal praise.
“I think he would be a really good fit for Milwaukee,” said Crouther of the Milwaukee native.
Both DeVougas and Wilson said their choice was influenced in part by the community support Mahaley received. He’s being publicly endorsed by restauranteur Omar Shaikh, Medical College of Wisconsin president Greg Wesley, attorney Cory Nettles, We Energies vice president of local affairs Thelma Sias, Milwaukee Downtown president Beth Weirick, VISIT Milwaukee president Peggy Williams-Smith, lobbyist Buddy Julius, MMAC lobbyist Steve Baas, entrepreneur Mark Wade, Marquette University president Mike Lovell and community activist Vaun Mayes. Led by bishop Darrell Hines, a group known as Pastors for a Better Milwaukee is also endorsing Mahaley.
Wilson said she always listens to the community and that she received a record number of calls. “The people sitting in the audience know way more about some of this stuff than we do,” she said.
McKenzie, who praised each candidate before voting for Aziz, said Mahaley proposed out-of-the-box ideas on police funding and community support.
Crouther, DeVougas and Wilson each said they had confidence in Mahaley.
Soler was the last to vote and said, like Wilson, he was receiving a record number of phone calls. He said he would make his decision based on factual information.
“I thought some of the people that called me were even dead because I hadn’t heard from them in years,” he said. “I am also very concerned by the number called me that do not live in the city who want to influence a city process.” A number of the people endorsing Mahaley are Milwaukee stakeholders, but do not live in the city proper.
Soler said he made his choice based on the individual’s diversity of police experience, consistency of responses in community sessions, understanding of community-oriented policing, answers to questions on de-escalation and use of force and how the candidates were prepared for each meeting.
Soler’s vote made it a 3-3 tie.
He called a second round of votes to see if anyone would change their mind and, seeing no one did, said the body would meet again on December 10th to pick a new chief.
A third candidate Chris Davis, Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief, drew no votes from the commission.
McKenzie praised Davis’ vision for publishing data on police budgeting and other proposals regarding transparency. “I thought that’s something I would like to see done here in Milwaukee,” she said. “He focused on how the police department is not militaristic.”
The body does have a deadline looming. Acting Chief Michael Brunson is slated to retire on December 23rd. It could appoint another acting chief. The vacancy was created when the commission demoted then-chief Alfonso Morales in August.
Wilson, DeVougas and Soler praised all of the candidates for being willing to go through the public process.
After the meeting, Mayor Tom Barrett issued a statement calling for the commission to make a decision.
“I would have preferred that the Commission made a decision tonight. I think what we’re seeing is the messiness of democracy in action,” said Barrett. “I remain optimistic that we will have a chief in place in line with Chief Brunson’s timetable. The Commission plans on taking this item up at the next meeting. All three candidates were extremely strong. I’m going to have more conversations with the commissioners to get a better read on why they made the decision that they did. I do want to see us have a decision made soon.”
- City Hall: Barrett Replacing FPC Chair, Vice Chair - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 9th, 2021
- City Hall: New Policies Incentivize City Residency for Milwaukee Police, Firefighters - Jeramey Jannene - May 24th, 2021
- City Hall: Judge Orders Alfonso Morales Gets His Job Back in 45 Days - Jeramey Jannene - May 19th, 2021
- City Hall: Police Chief Search Loses a Top Candidate - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 29th, 2021
- City Hall: Council Wants Ann Wilson Off Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 24th, 2021
- City Hall: Another Council Committee Opposes Wilson - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 10th, 2021
- Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement: - Mayor Tom Barrett - Feb 15th, 2021
- City Hall: DeVougas Resigns From Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2021
- City Hall: FPC Members, City Attorney Blew Off Inspector General Interview Requests - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2021
- City Hall: Attorney Didn’t Want Inspector General Report Made Public - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 12th, 2021
Read more about Fire & Police Commission's Troubles here