Milwaukee Council overrides Barrett, asks for ability to fire police chief

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Donovan said Tuesday the way Police Chief Ed Flynn has handled the department is losing the confidence of rank-and-file officers and now politicians.

"We have a public safety crisis in a growing number of our neighborhoods," Donovan said.

The Milwaukee Common Council voted 10-5 Tuesday to override Mayor Tom Barrett's veto, and reach out to state lawmakers, asking for the authority to remove the Milwaukee police and fire chief's with a two-thirds majority vote. Milwaukee Police Administration President Mike Crivello said the vote sends a message.

"There did need to be a message sent. And a message was sent today."

He says previous complaints from the police union about Fynn have fallen on deaf ears.

"It's only been a few short years ago that we took a no confidence vote in the chief that was overwhelmingly a message that was sent, and yet it was a discarded message," Crivello said.

Barrett says giving aldermen that power would be dangerous.

"I'm going to continue to support a citizen oversight of our police department," Barrett said. "I think it's good public policy. It has stood the test of time, and I'm going to continue to do what I think is right, which is again, to keep politics out of our police department."

Barrett says he thinks the public supports Flynn, but political opposition is mounting.

"I think it adds fuel to the fire of those that are attacking the fire and police commission at the state. And the council has really joined forces with those attacking the fire and police commission at the state."

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