Milwaukee Police Department
|Milwaukee Police Department|
|Logo of the Milwaukee Police Department.|
|Motto||"Be A Force"|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Headquarters||Police Administration Building, Downtown Milwaukee|
|Agency executive||Edward A. Flynn, Chief of Police|
|Stations||8 (7 Districts, 1 Neighborhood Task Force)|
The Milwaukee Police Department is the police department organized under the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The department has a contingent of about 1,300 sworn officers when at full strength. Edward A. Flynn is the current chief of police.
- 1 History
- 2 Ranks and insignia
- 3 Structure
- 4 Misconduct
- 4.1 Daniel Bell
- 4.2 Wendy O. Williams
- 4.3 Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek
- 4.4 Return of victim to Jeffrey Dahmer
- 4.5 Chicago shootings
- 4.6 Frank Jude Jr.
- 4.7 Alfonzo Glover
- 4.8 Glenn Kelly
- 4.9 Derek Williams
- 4.10 Ladmarald Cates
- 4.11 Accidental shooting
- 4.12 Beating of handcuffed suspects
- 4.13 Strip searches
- 4.14 Dontre Hamilton
- 5 Fallen officers
- 6 See also
- 7 References
MPD was founded in 1855. At the time when Milwaukee had an extremely high crime rate, fueled by local gangs, mobs, thieves and robbers. Milwaukee was originally served by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's office, which became increasingly unable to provide adequate enforcement to the growing city. With burgeoning crime rates, citizens enacted an ordinance creating the Milwaukee Police Department.
Milwaukee's first chief of police was William Beck, a former NYPD detective, and its first policemen were Fred Keppler, John Hardy, George Fische, James Rice, L.G. Ryan and David Coughlin. As the department expanded, patrolmen were supplemented by "roundsmen", who would lead the patrolmen out to their beats at the beginning of the evening shift, and supervise them during the shift. A roundsman earned $5 more a month than a patrolman.
The office of police chief, like the department in general, was subject to political forces for most of its history; for example, in 1878 new Mayor John Black appointed fellow Democrat Daniel Kennedy as chief, and Kennedy promptly fired 25 Republican patrolmen (as part of the spoils system then prevalent).
In 1924, Judson W. Minor became Department's first African-American officer and in 1975 Ada Wright became the first female MPD officer. On November 15, 1996 Arthur Jones became the first African-American chief. A lawsuit filed after his term found that Jones discriminated against officers based on their race, giving African-American officers promotions before white officers. The first female captain in the Milwaukee Police Department was Nannette Hegerty, who also became the first female chief of police in 2004. She retired in November 2007.
On November 24, 1917, a large black powder bomb, wrapped as a package, was discovered by Maude L. Richter, a social worker, next to an evangelical church in the third ward. She dragged the package into the church basement and notified the church janitor, Sam Mazzone. Mazzone brought the bomb to the central police station at Oneida and Broadway and turned it over to police. The station keeper was showing it to the shift commander, Lieutenant Flood, right before a scheduled inspection, when it exploded. Nine members of the department were killed in the blast, along with a female civilian. It was suspected at the time that the bomb had been placed outside the church by anarchists, particularly the Galleanist faction led by adherents of Luigi Galleani. At the time, the bomber's identity was not uncovered. Many years later, interviews with surviving Galleanist members revealed that Croatian national Mario Buda, chief bombmaker for the Galleanists may have constructed the Milwaukee bomb. At the time, the bombing was the most fatal single event in national law enforcement history, only surpassed later by the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 when 72 law enforcement officers representing eight different agencies were killed. Those responsible for the 1917 bombing never were apprehended, but days later, eleven alleged Italian anarchists went to trial on unrelated charges involving a fracas that had occurred two months before. The specter of the larger, uncharged crime of the bombing haunted the proceedings and assured convictions of all eleven. In 1918 Clarence Darrow led an appeal that gained freedom for most of the convicted.
Ranks and insignia
|Chief of Police||Gold Badge w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Assistant Chief of Police||Gold Badge w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Inspector of Police||Gold Badge w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Deputy Inspector of Police||Gold Badge w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Police Captain||Gold Badge w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Police Lieutenant||Gold Badge w/ Silver Sunburst|
|Police Sergeant||Silver Badge w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Detective||Suit and Tie or Plain Clothes||Silver Badge (Different Design) w/ Gold Sunburst|
|Police Officer||Silver Badge w/ Eagle top and Numbered Star|
|Police Aide||Sky Blue Uniform||Silver Pinched Shield w/o Eagle and Star|
The Milwaukee Police Department is composed of numerous bureaus, divisions and sections. Each area has specific responsibilities which are essential to the management and administration of the department.
Office of the Chief
- Budget and Finance Division
- Professional Performance Division
- Public Information Office
- Research & Development Section
Office of the Assistant Chief of Police
- Field Inspection Division
- Intergovernmental Services Division - License Investigation Unit, Municipal Security Section
- Property Control Section
- Districts 1 thru 7 - Court Administration Section, Prisoner Processing Section, Municipal Security Section, Weed & Seed
- Neighborhood Task Force
Planning & operations
- Patrol Support Division - Tactical Enforcement Unit, Motorcycle Unit, Harbor Patrol Unit, Underwater Investigation Unit, Horse Mounted Patrol, Accident Reconstruction Unit.
Criminal Investigation Bureau
- Homicide Division
- Crimes Against Persons
- Crimes Against Property
- Sensitive Crimes Division - Juvenile Investigations, Sexual Assault Unit, Family Violence Unit
- Administrative Services Division - Property Control Section, License Investigation Unit
- Central Records Division - Records Management Section, Open Records Section, Traffic Records Section
- Communication Division
- Data Services Division
- Identification Division
- Maintenance Services Section
- Police Academy - Firearms Section, In-Service Section, Recruit Section, Safety Division, Audiovisual Section, Community Services Division
- Facilities Services Division - Printing & Stores Section
- Personnel Division - Background Investigations, Medical Section, Payroll Section, Recruiting Section.
In 1958, Officer Thomas Grady shot Daniel Bell in the back, killing him. Investigations at the time cleared Grady of any wrongdoing. In 1978, Grady's partner indicated that the officer had planted a knife on Bell's body to falsely indicate he had been armed. Grady plead guilty to reckless homicide and perjury. Milwaukee city officials, unwilling to pay the sum awarded to the Bell family, appealed and repeatedly refused the family’s offers to settle for smaller sums. In September 1984, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago awarded $1.6 million, twice the amount the family had offered to settle for earlier.
Wendy O. Williams
In January 1981 Milwaukee police officers arrested and allegedly severely beat Wendy O. Williams, singer of the punk group The Plasmatics, for simulating sex on stage. Charged with battery to an officer and obscene conduct, she was later cleared.
Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek
On May 28, 1981, police officer Lawrencia Bembenek allegedly murdered her husband's ex-wife. Her conviction, escape, and subsequent court proceedings received big media play.
Return of victim to Jeffrey Dahmer
In the early morning hours of May 27, 1991, 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone (the younger brother of a boy Dahmer had molested) was discovered on the street, wandering nude. Reports of the boy's injuries varied. Jeffrey Dahmer, who had drugged and raped the boy, told police that they had an argument while drinking, and that Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old lover. Against the teenager's protests, police turned him over to Dahmer. The officers later reported smelling a strange odor, which was eventually found to be bodies in the back of his room. Later that night Dahmer killed and dismembered Sinthasomphone, keeping his skull as a souvenir. Dahmer went on to kill four more people.
John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish, the two police officers who returned Sinthasomphone to Dahmer, were fired from the Milwaukee Police Department after their actions were widely publicized, including an audiotape of the officers making homophobic statements to their dispatcher and laughing about having reunited the "lovers." The two officers appealed their termination, and were reinstated with back pay. Balcerzak would go on to be elected president of the Milwaukee Police Association in May 2005. Gabrish is now chief of police for the town of Trenton, Wisconsin, 30 miles north of Milwaukee.
In 1994, two Milwaukee police officers, Gabriel Bedoya and John Koch, went on a shooting spree in the city of Chicago. They fired shots at random into buildings on the Gold Coast of Chicago, including the residence of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. When denied entry to a nightclub, Bedoya shot the bouncer at close range in the head and the two fled back to Milwaukee.
Frank Jude Jr.
In October, 2004, Frank Jude Jr. attended a party held by police officer Andrew Spengler. Following allegations that Jude had taken an officer's badge, at least three officers confronted and beat Jude outside of Spengler's home. Officers Daniel Masarik, Andrew Spengler and Jon Bartlett were arrested and charged with the beating. All three were later fired from the Milwaukee Police Department, as were several other involved officers. The officers disciplined were both on- and off-duty the night of the beating. Masarik, Spengler and Bartlett were later found not guilty in state court. In July 2007, these three officers and another officer, Ryan Packard, went on trial in federal court on charges of violating the civil rights of Frank Jude Jr. and his friend, Levelle Harris. Spengler, Masarik and Bartlett were found guilty; Packard was found not guilty. The officers were sentenced on November 29, 2007. Bartlett received 17 years, Masarik and Spengler both received 15 years. The officers' attorneys have said the officers will appeal the sentences.
In March 2005, press reports recount that Officer Alfonzo Glover shot Wilbert Prado eight times after an off-duty traffic altercation. Officer Glover was charged criminally, but killed himself before he could be brought to court.
On July 7, 2006 at Miller Park, baseball fan Glenn Kelly fell or was pushed down by two Milwaukee police officers (accounts vary) outside an elevator. Kelly was not under detention at that time, but his daughter in law and son were for disorderly conduct and public intoxication, and he had attempted to get into the elevator with them, contrary to police and park policy (since they were under arrest). Eventually, the brawl ended when Kelly fell to the ground, cracking his head open on the concrete floor. Kelly was briefly unconscious but awoke and refused medical treatment. Later that day he lapsed into unconsciousness and was declared brain dead. He died July 12, 2006 when he was taken off life support. A deputy district attorney decided not to charge the officers, clearing them of any wrongdoing. Kelly's family filed notice of a pending lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, but nothing seems to have come of it.
In July 2011, Derek Williams, a robbery suspect, was arrested by Officer Richard M. Ticcioni and Officer Patrick Coe. After a struggle, he was handcuffed and paced in the back of a police car. He complained he was having trouble breathing and requested an ambulance. The officers ignored his request and Williams died. The death was ruled a homicide because an altercation with police caused the sickle cell crisis which led to his death. The officers had been cleared by an internal investigation conducted when a preliminary report ruled the death accidental. When authorities changed the cause of death to homicide, the police department promised a second investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a civil rights inquiry looking into the possibility of a "pattern and practice" of abuse.
Officer Ladmarald Cates was convicted in January 2012 of the 2010 rape a 19 year old mother and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
In November 2011, Officer Michael Edwards was in a shopping mall when his handgun discharged, injuring a little girl nearby. Edwards pled guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct. He had not placed his weapon in a holster, but instead had it in his pocket and it fired when he reached into his pocket for money.
Beating of handcuffed suspects
In May 2012, Officer Richard Schoen, a veteran of nine years' service was fired when footage from his car's camera showed him beating a woman handcuffed in the back of his car. Later in the year the city's Fire and Police Commission forced the department to rehire the officer. Public outrage forced to commission to change their decision.
In March 2012, a number of police officers were investigated for conducting strip searches in public on people they had arrested. In October 2012, Officer Michael Vagnini was charged with 25 counts of sexual assault and other crimes, Officer Jeffrey Dollhop was accused two counts of official misconduct and one count each of conducting an illegal strip search and an illegal cavity search, and two other officers, Jacob Knight and Brian Kozelek, each faced a single count of official misconduct. In October 2013, Dollhopf and Kozelek pleaded no contest in exchange for a sentence of fines and community service. In December 2013, Officer Vagnini was sentenced to 26 months in prison.
Six officers were investigated for obstructing the inquiry into these illegal strip searches. To prevent collusion by the officers, the court issued an order preventing discussion of the strip searches. In 2012, five officers were suspected of violating this court order soon after they were subpoenaed to testify at a secret fact-finding hearing. Despite video and document proof of having broken laws and violating department policies, these officers did not face criminal charges or departmental disciplining. Officer Stephanie Seitz was investigated for perjury, but Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern declined to charge her with a crime.
In April 2014, Officer Christopher Manney shot and killed a homeless man, Dontre Hamilton, when the officer attempted to do a welfare check on the man. The district attorney said the "use of force was privileged and justified,” and declined to take the case to court. The police department fired the officer in October. 
Since the establishment of the Milwaukee Police Department, 60 officers have died in the line of duty. Their causes of death are as follows:
|Cause of death||Number of deaths|
|Struck by streetcar||
|Struck by train||
|Struck by vehicle||
- City of Milwaukee "History of the Milwaukee Police Department" http://www.ci.mil.wi.us/History779.htm
- Maralyn A. Wellauer-Lenius, Milwaukee Police Department. Mt. Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008, p. 16.
- Wellauer-Lenius, p. 10.
- http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/router.asp?docid=13123 "City of Milwaukee History Page"
- http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/History779.htm "Milwaukee Police Department History Page"
- Balousek, Marv, and Kirsch, J. Allen, 50 Wisconsin Crimes of the Century, Badger Books Inc. (1997), ISBN 1-878569-47-3, ISBN 978-1-878569-47-9, p. 113
- The Indianapolis Star, "Bomb Mystery Baffles Police", November 26, 1917
- The Indianapolis Star, "Bomb Mystery Baffles Police", November 26, 1917
- http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/MemorialPage1670.htm "Milwaukee Police Department Officer Memorial Page"
- Watson, Bruce, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind, Viking Press (2007), ISBN 0-670-06353-3, ISBN 978-0-670-06353-6, p. 15
- Avrich, Paul, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1991)
- Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1996)
- Dell’Arti, Giorgio, La Storia di Mario Buda, Io Donna, 26 gennaio 2002, http://www.memoteca.it/upload/dl/E-Book/Mario_Buda.pdf
- Deadliest Days in Law Enforcement History, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (November 24, 1917) http://www.nleomf.org/facts/enforcement/deadliest.html
- Strang, Dean A. Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror, Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press (2012).
- Gina Barton, "In 25 years, no charges recommended in Milwaukee inquests", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 6, 2012.
- White, Sylvia Bell, and Jody LePage. Sister: An African American Life in Search of Justice, Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press (2013).
- "Officers Tell Jury of Letting Dahmer Keep Boy," New York Times, February 13, 1992.
- http://trentonpolicewi.com/About%20Us/History/history-index.html[dead link]
- The People of the State of Illinois v. Gabriel Bedoya
- 3 ex-officers guilty", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 26, 2007.
- "Ex-officers in Jude beating case get sentences of up to 17 years", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 29, 2007.
- "Family of man who died after being shoved by officers files notice," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 7, 2006.
- Gina Barton, "Medical Examiner revises suspect's death ruling to homicide," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 22, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- John Diedrich and Gina Barton, "FBI launches civil rights inquiry into death in custody," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 10, 2012.
- Federal jury finds fired police officer guilty in assault case Officer had responded to victim's 911 call, by Gina Barton, Journal-Sentinel, 11 January 2012
- Viviana Buzo, "Cop Guilty of Accidental Gun Discharge in Southridge," Greendale Patch, October 18, 2012.
- Brandon Cruz, "Milwaukee police release video showing conduct of fired officer," Fox6now.com, May 25, 2012.
- Milwaukee Police Officer Richard Schoen punches woman, fired and then re-hired, by CNN, WTSP.com, 5 December 2012
- "Officer fired in unanimous decision by Fire and Police Commission", by Gina Barton, Journal-Sentinel, December 11, 2012
- Gitte Laasby and John Diedrich, "Strip-search complaints against Milwaukee police continue to surface," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 27, 2012.
- Gitte Laaasby, "Milwaukee police get more complaints of cavity searches, chief says," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 11, 2012.
- Gina Barton and John Diedrich, "4 Milwaukee police officers charged in strip-search case," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 9, 2012.
- Milwaukee cops take plea deal in strip-search case, by the Associated Press, 21 October 2013, Wislawjournal.coom
- Unbelievably lenient sentence for cop who fingered suspects’ anuses, The Daily Caller, December 29, 2013.
- Allen, Michael (2014-09-14). "Video Proves Milwaukee Police Officer Saw Illegal Strip Search, She Denied Watching". Retrieved 12/8/2014. Check date values in:
- Barton, Gina (2014-09-13). "Officers investigated for hampering strip search inquiry not charged". Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Retrieved 12/8/2014. Check date values in:
- Barton, Gina (September 13, 2014). "Officers investigated for hampering strip search inquiry not charged". Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Retrieved 12/8/2014. Check date values in:
- Milwaukee police officer fired for killing mentally-ill black man, Dontre Hamilton, won’t be charged; by Todd Richmond, 22 December 2014, Associated Press