Jeramey Jannene

Jeffrey Norman Will Serve as Acting Police Chief

Once a finalist to be permanent chief, Norman will serve on interim basis.

By - Dec 18th, 2020 03:29 pm
MPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Norman. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

MPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Norman speaks at a press conference in October. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

One of the finalists to serve as Milwaukee’s police chief will lead the department on an interim basis, while the Fire & Police Commission remains deadlocked on picking a permanent chief.

Assistant Chief Jeffrey Norman, the only internal candidate of the six finalists, will become acting chief next week. He was eliminated from the chief search process in November.

Norman joined the department in 1996 and was promoted to assistant chief in 2020. A biography on the Milwaukee Police Department website says he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Masters of Public Administration degree from Kaplan University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University.

“I appreciate that I am allowed this responsibility,” said Norman in brief remarks before the commission Thursday evening.

Current Acting Chief Michael Brunson is retiring on December 26th after 25 years with the department.

Brunson was a finalist to serve as chief following Edward A. Flynn‘s February 2018 retirement, but the commission ultimately selected Alfonso Morales, with Brunson becoming a deputy chief. Brunson became acting chief in August when Morales was demoted and said he would not seek the permanent post.

“I would like to thank you for your service and your sacrifice,” said Commissioner Everett Cocroft during the commission meeting. Other commissioners thanked Brunson as well.

“Don’t do anything silly,” said Commissioner Fred Crouther to laughter from Brunson.

There have been a number of departures from the department’s leadership ranks in 2020. Morales was demoted, elected to retire and is now suing the city. Brunson is retiring after his stint as acting chief. Assistant Chief Terrence Gordon is retiring and will take the role of chief for a Denver suburb. Assistant Chief Ray Banks retired earlier this year.

Banks said he was one of 11 applicants for the chief position following the Morales’ demotion. He was not named one of six public finalists alongside Norman.

The commission is scheduled to vote, for a fifth time, on a new chief on January 7th.

Dallas police major Malik Aziz, FBI special supervisory agent Hoyt Mahaley and Portland deputy chief Chris Davis are the remaining finalists. The commission has voted four times to pick a new chief, each time deadlocking 3-3 on Aziz and Mahaley.

The Common Council has a pending confirmation of a seventh member for the commission, but the body is not scheduled to meet until January 19th. A vote on the confirmation was postponed earlier this week because the wrong, ordinance-required background check was ordered.

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