MPD telecommunicators are scapegoats for poor policies, lack of management
Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan October 5, 2015
I can no longer attend a meeting in my district – or anywhere else in the city – without hearing horror stories from residents about police response times.
Today’s front-page Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article (‘Discipline urged for 8 in MPD’) details what this tragic horror looks like, as MPD took 22 minutes to respond to a knifing last year that took the life of a 60-year-old woman.
In the article, police dispatcher Matthew Jasinski said he did not assign available personnel – including three MPD sergeants, two anti-gang units or the community prosecution unit – because doing so would have caused a “backlash” from superiors.
In addition, it was the late afternoon on the day the woman was stabbed, and there were 19 calls for service pending in the 5th District, and ZERO available squad cars to assign to the call. Just think what the call backlog looks like at midnight!
MPD says no one has been fired in connection with the knifing call response, and the Fire and Police Commission has confirmed that no one involved was suspended for five days or longer.
We are approximately 300 sworn officers short of the MPD’s authorized strength – based at the start of Chief Flynn’s tenure in 2008. We simply cannot continue down this path without adding the hundreds of additional officers we need.
We are clearly NOT serving the law-abiding citizens of Milwaukee the way we should, and frankly I believe by not doing so we are opening ourselves up to lawsuits.
Shame on the Barrett Administration, and shame especially on Chief Flynn, for hanging these telecommunicators out to dry. If mistakes were made they were mistakes caused by a lack of oversight, of poor management and command.
I remember one of Chief Flynn’s lines from his speech to the Common Council when he was sworn in. He said: “I will judge honest mistakes differently than willful misconduct.”
Time to own up to your words, Chief.
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