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Will extension end dust up over the Milwaukee Police Department's Pursuit Policy?

Chief Ed Flynn now has an additional month to modify the police department's pursuit policy as ordered by the Fire and Police Commission.

The FPC says it feels it acted with transparency when it issued a directive to expand the criteria beyond those implicated in violent felonies.

They just happened to issue that directive while the chief was on vacation.

It comes in response to a growing sentiment that reckless driving has actually increase because criminals think they are less likely to be pursued.

Chief Flynn says the data shows that a restrictive policy reduces fatalities and is considered a gold standard by many other departments.

"We have gone from a very shallow diagnosis of what the problem is with additional car crashes in Milwaukee and ascribed it to one issue," Chief Flynn told CBS 58 News after Thursday's meeting where the extension was granted.

"Hopefully we can collaborate and do something that is positive for the community," FPC Chairman Steven DeVougas told CBS 58 News. There's always room for compromise."

Some have suggested that the FPC needs an attorney since the chief has hired outside counsel at his own expense.

Chairman DeVougas says that's on hold while they try to work things out. 

On Friday morning, Alderman Bob Donovan who is a longtime opponent of the Chief's policy said it was time for the Mayor to show his support for the aggressive action taken by the FPC to demand change from the chief.

Here is the statement in full:

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan

July 28, 2017

I and the overwhelming majority of my colleagues wholeheartedly support the recent directive from the Fire and Police Commission regarding changes to the MPD's pursuit policy. We applaud their courage and direct action in listening to the citizens of Milwaukee and quite frankly, doing their job. It's high time the Mayor does the same.

You may recall some three weeks ago the Mayor told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he strongly disagreed with the proposal from Alderman Zielinski that state law be changed to allow the Common Council to fire the Police (or Fire) Chief. At the time the Mayor said: "Politicizing the operations of the fire and police departments is horrible public policy and would run contrary to the principles of citizen oversight and engagement."

The Mayor has been missing in action on the FPC's directive - quiet as a mouse as he seems deathly afraid of doing anything to upset Chief Flynn. I sincerely hope the Mayor isn't playing the same level of politics he so vigorously condemned only three weeks ago (the Mayor needs to start taking his own advice!).

This critical citizen body deserves the support of the very people who appointed them.

Further, there is AMPLE evidence that the pursuit policy needs to be revised. There is rampant red light running and reckless driving happening daily on our streets, and just turn on the news and watch stories about car-jackings, robberies and mobile drug trafficking.

Chief Flynn's 2010 pursuit policy has led to an atmosphere of lawlessness across Milwaukee.

It is high time Chief Flynn and Mayor Barrett realize what the Common Council and the Fire and Police Commission have realized for quite some time - that decisions made in 2010 may need to change in 2017 given the changing circumstances.





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