FPC Restarting Police Chief Search
Jeffrey Norman remains a favorite among some city officials.
A search for a new, permanent Milwaukee Police Chief could start as early as next month.
The Fire & Police Commission voted unanimously Tuesday evening to terminate the 2020 search process. It closes a tumultuous affair that followed the August 2020 demotion of then-chief Alfonso Morales. While a lawsuit from Morales was pending, the commission publicly fought over the process, one member called another a dictator and resigned, the chair and vice chair sat out private interviews and ultimately the board, then composed of six members, deadlocked four times on picking a new chief from the three finalists. Morales and the city received a $627,000 settlement last month.
“In my opinion, it would be better for the new commissioners to participate from the beginning,” said commission chair Edward Fallone, a Marquette University Law School professor and one of the new commissioners.
“I hope we can proceed expeditiously because I think getting some certainty for the community on this is very important,” said Joan Kessler, one of the four new members.
But while the old process is officially over, a new process could be at least a month away. The commission isn’t scheduled to meet again until September 2. The commission could use that meeting to formally define the terms and launch a new search.
That gives still more time for acting chief Jeffrey Norman to use his post as an on-the-job trial. He’s already gained the backing of Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson. Norman was the last remaining local finalist in the prior search, but was eliminated when the field was narrowed from six to three. He became acting chief in December after Morales’ replacement, Michael Brunson, retired. Brunson did not pursue the permanent post.
What happened to the finalists from the last search? Dallas Police Department major Malik Aziz was appointed chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department in March. Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief Chris Davis became chief of the Green Bay Police Department in July. FBI Special Agent in Charge Hoyt Mahaley, who tied repeatedly with Aziz in Milwaukee, has not received a chief position.
The makeup of the commission could change again depending on when the search process starts. Commissioner Ann Wilson remains on the board despite having an expired term and the Common Council rejecting her reappointment earlier this year. In late June, the mayor’s chief of staff Jodie Tabak said Barrett spoke with a potential replacement on June 19th, but no replacement appointment has been made. Under state law the commission is allowed to have up to nine members, but has never had more than seven.
- City Hall: Police Chief Search Has One Candidate - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 6th, 2021
- City Hall: FPC Restarting Police Chief Search - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 11th, 2021
- City Hall: Council Approves Morales Settlement - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 27th, 2021
- City Hall: Morales Payout Rises Still Higher - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 19th, 2021
- City Hall: Morales Reaches Tentative, $626,000 Settlement With City - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 13th, 2021
- No Settlement Yet, Morales Will Be Police Chief Again On July 15th - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 9th, 2021
- City Hall: Council Okays Huge Change in FPC Board - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 7th, 2021
- City Hall: Morales Or Milwaukee, Who Will Blink First? - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 25th, 2021
- City Hall: Committee Loves New FPC Nominees - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 24th, 2021
- City Hall: The Ann Wilson Problem - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 24th, 2021
Read more about Fire & Police Commission's Troubles here