Residents voice their opinions, concerns about what they want in a new interim police chief

NOW: Residents voice their opinions, concerns about what they want in a new interim police chief

Milwaukee residents had an opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns about what they would like to see in a new interim police chief after Chief Ed Flynn retires on February 16th after 10 years on the job.  

The Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum hosted a town hall on Wednesday night featuring a panel of city leaders and activists.

YWCA Southeast Wisconsin racial justice community engagement manger Jamaal Smith, who sat on the panel, told the crowd he wanted to have an honest discussion about the topic.

"My statement to you is, some people have to be uncomfortable being uncomfortable," Smith said. 

The big topics of the town hall included racial tension, transparency and trust between police officers and the community.  

"I think that trust has been broken in the last couple of years and so I feel that trust and leadership would be one of the first steps," panelist Alexander Ayala, an MPD detective and the president of the National Latino Peace Officers Association - Milwaukee chapter said. 

Reiva Allen, a mother of two, agreed that trust has been broken between some children in the community and police. 

"I don't think their views of the officers are where they should be," Allen said. "It's a lot of kids who feel unprotected in many different ways, not just in their homes, but out of the streets."

Smith said a big part of that trust is police transparency when it comes to incidents like police involved shootings and access to body cameras and dash cam video. 

"If we're talking about what we need to see as far as transparency is concerned, if nothing else, families need to see that and don't lie to us," Smith. 

Mama Rose, as she's known by her neighbors, has lived in the city for more than 60 years and said she just wants equal justice and that starts at the top. 

"Don't don't just jump out there and kill somebody because of what they look like or they are in a poor neighborhood," Rose said. "I want all humans to be treated like humans."

The finalists for interim police chief will be announced on Thursday. 

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