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'I want him to stay:' Mayor Barrett denies rumors that he will replace Chief Morales

’I want him to stay: ’ Mayor Barrett denies rumors that he will replace Chief Morales

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Milwaukee’s mayor is knocking down rumors that he wants to replace the police chief.

This comes after a local radio host said it was “likely” that Mayor Tom Barrett will replace Chief Alfonso Morales with the Green Bay Police Chief.

“I want him to stay,” said Mayor Barrett outside an event in Milwaukee Monday afternoon.

“I’ve made it clear, and I’ll continue to make it clear that I support him as chief,” said Mayor Barrett.

“No one was more surprised to hear these rumors than I was,” said Green Bay Chief Andrew Smith.

Smith joined the chorus of people who deny the rumor.  He says he’s never met the mayor.

“I have not had any conversations with any officials in the City of Milwaukee, I have not applied to be a Milwaukee Chief, I have no information about the chief spot being open,” said Smith.

“I echo his comments even though I’ve never met the man, that we’ve never met each other,” said Barrett.

Chief Morales’ contract is up in January and so far he doesn’t have a new one, but the mayor expects he will stay.

Chief Morales is in New York, but released the following statement:

“As the current Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department, I am focused on the safety and security of the members of this agency, the citizens we swore to protect and preparing for a successful 2020 Democratic National Convention.”

CBS 58 reached out to several city council members Monday. One said they haven’t heard any talk of replacing Morales. They said it wouldn’t make any sense to do it so close to the DNC convention next Summer.

“I’d be shocked if there was any truth to them at all,” said Shawn Lauda, President of the Milwaukee Police Association.

“Obviously the crime numbers are down, which is important, and I do believe he takes our officers' safety very seriously, and that’s important,” said Lauda.

Lauda says Chief Morales talked to Mayor Barrett over the phone Monday afternoon, and the mayor re-iterated that he has no idea who started this rumor.

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