Milwaukee Police Association calls for resignation or removal of Fire and Police Commissioner
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Police Association is calling for Milwaukee Fire and Police Commissioner Steven DeVougas to resign his position or be removed immediately. The association is also calling for an investigation into his conduct.
According to a press release shared by the MPA, DeVougas represented someone who was being interviewed by a Milwaukee Police Department detective as a suspect in a sexual assault complaint.
"The detective interviewed the suspect and he was represented by Chairman DeVougas, the detective knew it, clearly was uncomfortable with that and why would he be uncomfortable with that? Chairman DeVougas has the most power on the commission," said Milwaukee Police Association President Shawn C. Lauda in an interview with CBS 58.
"Chairman DeVougas, should that detective want to run for a promotional exam, is in charge, has great authority over whether or not that detective get that promotion. Should that detective ever find himself in trouble and need to go before the Fire and Police Commission for an appeals hearing, of course Chairman DeVougas has the authority to have a vote to determine what his discipline is, including termination," said Lauda.
DeVougas was appointed to the Fire and Police Commission in 2013 and reappointed in October 2018. He also works as an attorney. According to the website for DeVougas Law Group, his work is in commercial real estate, transactional business law and business litigation.
"What is the problem with that? A fire and police commissioner, per the state bar ethics rules, as well as the fire and police commission rules cannot represent a person in a criminal matter, who is being investigated by the very agency that commissioner oversees, I think that’s common sense and it’s a violation of the rules," said Lauda.
The State Bar of Wisconsin says an attorney member of the police and fire commission or any member of his firm should not represent criminal or traffic defendants where the police officers of the city are involved in investigation or prosecution.
In the press release shared on the Milwaukee Police Association's Facebook page, Lauda listed a number of other concerns the association had with DeVougas, including the handling of the contract for Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.
"In my opinion, pushing off Chief Morales' vote on his contract is a political sham on your part and failing to address the Chief's contract after all this time is a derelict of your duties."
CBS 58 reached out to DeVougas. In a brief phone call, he said "I feel like it’s a very low blow or dirty tactic for the MPA to impugn my integrity." He said he would call back to do an interview, but did not return numerous calls. Tuesday night he said he would send a statement, but as of 10:30 p.m. CBS 58 has not received that statement.