Jeramey Jannene

James MacGillis Will Lead Wauwatosa Police Department

MPD veteran taking top job in neighboring suburb.

By - Jul 1st, 2021 05:36 pm
James H. MacGillis. Photo provided.

James H. MacGillis. Photo provided.

Retired Milwaukee Police Department captain James H. MacGillis will be Wauwatosa’s next police chief.

The city’s Police & Fire Commission announced the selection Thursday afternoon. MacGillis’ first day on the job will be July 26th.

MacGillis retired from MPD in January after more than 25 years with the department. He currently serves as the drug intelligence officer for the North Central High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.

HIDTA is a federally-supported, multi-agency crimefighting effort in which both Milwaukee and Wauwatosa police departments participate.

MacGillis, during his time with MPD, rose to the rank of captain and served as director of training at the Milwaukee Police Academy.

“I am humbled and proud to have been selected to lead the Wauwatosa Police Department,” said MacGillis in a statement. “There are several opportunities to build police and community trust while keeping all citizens safe at the forefront of what we do as a profession and agency. I look forward to embracing both challenges and opportunities and working with internal and community stakeholders to keep Wauwatosa a safe and vibrant community for all.”

He will replace Barry Weber who retired this spring after 31 years with the department. Luke Vetter is serving as interim chief.

“The Police and Fire Commission is confident that James MacGillis will do an outstanding job as police chief, working with police department members, city officials, and community members to find innovative solutions to problems and improving police services for the City of Wauwatosa,” said Dominic Leone, Wauwatosa Police & Fire Commission president. “I want to thank the other volunteer Commission members and members of the community who participated in several steps of the hiring process.”

The new chief is a Wauwatosa native and graduate of Wauwatosa West High School. An army veteran, MacGillis has a master’s degree in administrative leadership from UW-Milwaukee.

The selection of MacGillis doesn’t add any clarity to Milwaukee’s chaotic police leadership problem.

In an unusual circumstance, acting Milwaukee police chief Jeffrey Norman was one of three finalists to lead the suburban city’s department. The other finalist was MPD captain David Salazar.

While Salazar will still be in his current role next week, Norman might not.

A ruling from Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Foley will give demoted chief Alfonso Morales his job back on July 3rd if Morales doesn’t reach a settlement with the city. Morales, who moved to Pewaukee and is also suing the city in federal court, said through his attorney Frank Gimbel that he is ready and willing to return to the job.

Foley put the blame for the situation squarely on the actions of the Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

Categories: Public Safety

5 thoughts on “James MacGillis Will Lead Wauwatosa Police Department”

  1. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Morales proved that he thinks the Citizens on Milwaukee work for him.

  2. blurondo says:

    Congratulations and good luck to the new chief. He’s got his work cut out for himself. Disinfecting Weber’s office might be a good place to start.

  3. mkwagner says:

    It doesn’t appear that the Wauwatosa FPC learned much from this past year. It appears they selected the “safe” choice, ensuring Tosa will continue to deal with racism as it has for the last 50+ years.

  4. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Wall Street hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, who just bought the New York Mets for $2.4 billion, stole over $10 billion through illegal stock trading… Cohen paid a $2 billion fine but was allowed to keep the other $8 billion… Cohen walked away with $8 billion in his pocket and never served a day in prison…

    An African American man, George Floyd, allegedly passed a counterfeit $20 to a store clerk… The cops showed up and choked the life out of him in less than 5 minutes…

    That’s our justice and law enforcement system in America…. Worship the wealthy liars and thieves, kill the poor and people of color….

  5. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Considering their union supports Trump means the cheif was just a small part of the white supremacists that make up the WPD.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us