Edward A. Flynn

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Edward A. Flynn
Milwaukee Chief of Police
Assumed office
Preceded by Nannette Hegerty

Edward A. Flynn (born circa 1948 (age 67–68)), is an American law enforcement official who has served as chief of the Milwaukee Police Department since January 2008.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Flynn grew up in Brielle, New Jersey. He was the only child of Edward, a paralyzed World War II veteran, and Constance, who worked part-time work at the local library. In 1966, he graduated from Christian Brothers Academy. He earned a BA in history from La Salle University. After college he worked for the New Jersey department of public welfare. In 1971, he joined the Hillside Township, New Jersey police department. From 1973 to 1988, he was a member of the Jersey City, New Jersey police department, rising to the rank of inspector. While in Jersey City, he earned a master's degree in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice[2] and completed the coursework for the Ph.D. in criminal justice from the City University of New York. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the National Executive Institute and was a National Institute of Justice Pickett Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[3]

Braintree, Massachusetts[edit]

From 1988 to 1993, he served as police chief of Braintree, Massachusetts.[2] In Braintree, Flynn developed a reputation for using high-quality equipment. He was responsible for computerizing the department.[4]

Chelsea, Massachusetts[edit]

From 1993 to 1998, he was chief of police in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He took over at a time when the department was facing many difficulties; the city was in receivership, the head of uniformed patrols had been indicted on corruption charges, and the police station was in poor condition.[4][5] During his tenure, the police department adopted a community policing model, decentralized authority, recruited and promoted minorities, and encouraged inter-agency cooperation.[6][7]

Arlington County, Virginia[edit]

From 1998 to 2002, he served as police chief in Arlington County, Virginia, where he was responsible for leading the police department including its responses to the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon, and to the 2002 Beltway sniper shootings.[1] On the morning of September 11, 2001, Flynn was attending a conference in New Jersey and his command staff was in charge until he could return some 5-6 hours after the attacks.

Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety[edit]

He returned to Massachusetts in January 2003, when then-governor Mitt Romney appointed him as secretary of the state executive office of public safety, the parent agency of the state police, department of correction, the National Guard, the department of fire services, office of the chief medical examiner, parole board, and the emergency management agency.[1]

Springfield, Massachusetts[edit]

Flynn resigned from Romney's cabinet in March 2006, when he was appointed as police commissioner in Springfield, Massachusetts. During his tenure, his uncompromising style alienated some members of the department. 18 months into his 5-year contract, it was revealed that Flynn was a finalist for the chief of police job in Milwaukee. He was condemned by elected officials in Springfield, including mayor Charles Ryan and city councilor/mayor-elect Domenic Sarno for seeking a job.[8][9][10] He was appointed Milwaukee chief of police on November 15, 2007, but remained in Springfield until January.[11]

Milwaukee, Wisconsin[edit]

Flynn was sworn in as Milwaukee police chief, on January 7, 2008.[9] He was only the second outsider in the history of the Milwaukee Police Department to be named chief.[2]

In June 2011, Flynn criticized the state's proposed concealed-carry bill, saying that the bill did not provide enough supervision.[12]

In December 2011, Flynn and Milwaukee county sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr engaged in a war of words over bus safety in Milwaukee after an increase in the number of reports of fighting incidents on buses. Clarke also attacked Flynn for rising response times to crime and for bringing the culture of another area to Milwaukee.[13]

In late 2011 his contract was renewed for an additional four years.[14] Flynn's second term marked the first time since 1863 that a Milwaukee police chief was reappointed. He was credited with crime reductions every year of his tenure in Milwaukee, as well as mending police-citizen relations.[15]

In 2012, it was revealed that complaints were filed against seven Milwaukee police officers and a sergeant alleging that they performed unauthorized rectal searches during traffic stops. Flynn announced that all of them had been stripped of their police powers while the allegations were under investigation and urged citizens who felt that they had been subjected to an illegal strip search to come forward.[16]

In May 2012, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative report revealed that more than 500 incidents since 2009 were misreported to the FBI as minor assaults and not included in the city's violent crime rate data. Hundreds of beatings, stabbings and child abuse cases were missing from the count on which the Milwaukee Police Department bases their statistical reporting.[17] The errors in reporting would have changed Chief Flynn's claim that violent crime had decreased by 2.3% in 2011 to an increase by 1.1%. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker joined state and city officials in calling for an independent audit of Milwaukee police crime data.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Flynn and his wife Susan have been married since 1973. The couple has two grown children.[2] Susan has remained in Virginia while Flynn has worked in Massachusetts and Wisconsin due to her career and desire to stay close to family.[19]

In 2009, it was alleged that Flynn had an affair with journalist Jessica McBride.[9][19][20] In response to these allegations, he was quoted as saying "I have done my wife and family a great wrong, and I profoundly regret the hurt I have inflicted on them and others affected by my conduct [...]".[9][19][20] Although he claimed that the affair had ended he became the center of a new scandal in July 2012 when documents were submitted to the fire and police commission and City Hall that the affair continued throughout 2012.[21]


  1. ^ a b c "Edward A. Flynn - Chief of Police". City of Milwaukee. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Borowski, Greg (January 6, 2008). "Ideals bind history major to urban policing". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  3. ^ ["Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.  Edward A. Flynn - Chief of Police] City of Milwaukee. 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013 [https://web.archive.org/web/20120214065207/http://city.milwaukee.gov/Police/mpdchief "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.  Archived] February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b McGrory, Brian (April 11, 1993). "New police chief in Chelsea seen as `new breed'". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  5. ^ McGrory, Brian (April 7, 1993). "Chelsea names new police chief for its beleaguered department". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Lupo, Alan (May 1, 1994). "Chelsea Police Chief Ed Flynn is Running a Community-Based Force That May be a National Model". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Lupo, Alan (January 9, 2003). "Chelsea Roots Remembered Crime Fighter Ahead of his Time". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Goonan, Peter (October 16, 2007). "Sarno calls for Flynn to resign". The Republican. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Barry, Stephanie (June 19, 2009). "Former Springfield Police Chief Edward Flynn admits having affair in Milwaukee". The Springfield Republican. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Mayor: Commissioner free to leave for Milwaukee". Associated Press. November 23, 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Goonan, Peter (December 12, 2007). "Officials bid Flynn depart". The Republican. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Laasby, Gitte (June 3, 2011). "Chief slams firearm measure". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved 3 March 2012. (subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "Sheriff Clarke attacks Chief Flynn over response times, not knowing Milwaukee". 620 WTMJ Newsradio. WTMJ. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-20111020-flynn-extension,0,6835288.story,
  15. ^ "Milwaukee Police Chief Sworn In For Second Term". wisn.com. Hearst Stations Inc. January 6, 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Laasby, Gitte (March 22, 2012). "Flynn urges strip search victims to come forward". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Poston, Ben "Hundreds of assault cases misreported by Milwaukee Police Department", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI - 22 October 2012.
  18. ^ Walker, Don "Walker joins call for outside audit of flawed crime data", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI - 25 October 2012.
  19. ^ a b c "Ex-Mass. public safety secretary, now Milwaukee police chief admits to affair". Boston Herald. June 19, 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Bice, Daniel (June 19, 2009). "Flynn had affair with journalist who wrote about him". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  21. ^ "Chief Flynn refuses comment on letter about affair". wisn.com. Hearst Stations Inc. on behalf of WISN-TV. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
Police appointments
Preceded by
John V. Polio
Braintree, Massachusetts Chief of Police
Succeeded by
Paul Frazier
Preceded by
Joslin Ham
Chelsea, Massachusetts Chief of Police
Succeeded by
Rafael P. Hernandez, Jr.
Preceded by
Robert A. Dreischer (Acting)
Arlington County, Virginia Chief of Police
Succeeded by
Steve Holl
Preceded by
James Jajuga
Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security
Succeeded by
Robert C. Haas
Preceded by
William J. Fitchet (Acting)
Springfield, Massachusetts Police Commissioner
Succeeded by
William J. Fitchet
Preceded by
Nannette Hegerty
Milwaukee Chief of Police
Succeeded by