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Milwaukee Police Chief drafts new pursuit policy, coalition still favors outside audit

Police Chief Ed Flynn has drafted a modified pursuit policy that he will reveal at the next public meeting of the Fire and Police Commission in Milwaukee.

There has been mounting pressure to expand the policy beyond cars involved in a violent felony or associated with a violent felon.

The chief put restrictions on pursuits several years ago out of concerns for public safety and the deaths of several innocent people during police chases.

Since then, a growing number of critics have claimed it has resulted in criminals routinely making a run for it because they know they won't be pursued.

Even with the changes, the Community Coalition for Quality Policing or CC4QP says it favors an outside audit of department protocol. 

"We think its important that officers ultimately be evaluated on problem oriented strategies and what they do," says CC4QP member and civil attorney Jonathan Safran. "We think this will help officers feel they are much more of a part of making decisions and trying to solve the problems to help the community."

To see the unedited interview with Safran click here

The modified pursuit policy will be presented at the next public meeting of the Fire and Police Commission which is currently scheduled for September 7th at Milwaukee City Hall.

Safran noted that even with a recent and highly critical review of MPD policy, another outside entity may still have to review police procedures to address all the concerns.

"That is now to be re-evaluated," Safran wrote to CBS 58 News after a portion of the Department of Justice audit was leaked to the Journal Sentinel Newspaper. "I guess the concern remains that it is allegedly not the final report. So CC4QP will need to determine if there are areas not fully evaluated or areas not evaluated at all by the DOJ."

The Department of Justice says it is still reviewing procedures and issued the following statement regarding published reports.

"During the last administration, the Collaborative Reform program often produced draft reports, often created by contractors and sent to the Department, which in their draft form did not necessarily reflect any final conclusions of the Department," writes Lauren Ehrsam, DOJ. "No draft concerning the Milwaukee Police Department was ever finalized or adopted by the Department, and reliance on any such draft would be unwarranted. The entire Collaborative Reform program remains under review by the Justice Department to ensure that the program is aligned with the Attorney General’s principles outlined in his March 31, 2017 memorandum regarding support for local law enforcement."

Safran says he found it interesting that many of the concerns raised and recommendations made by CC4QP mirror the findings in the leaked report.

"The question remains whether the MPD and FPC (Fire and Police Commission) will discuss or implement the recommendations of both entities," says Safran. "Those of us pursuing civil rights cases have also raised many of the concerns for years, especially related to citizen complaint evaluations, discipline, the early intervention program, lack of transparency, body camera use discretion.lack of sufficient MPD policy reviews by the FPC, use of force investigation inadequacies and traffic and pedestrian stop abuses."


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