Flynn’s Path From Small NJ Town To Milwaukee Chief


Edward Flynn takes over today as Milwaukee police chief. “To me, there’s nothing like being an urban police chief,” Flynn tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s intense. It’s up-tempo. And every decision matters.” Flynn, 59, brings a reputation as an innovator, a well-developed philosophy of policing, a rail-straight bearing, and a résumé that spans nearly 37 years in law enforcement, including 19 as a chief.

Flynn grew up in Brielle, N.J., a shore town 60 miles south of New York City. He was an only child. He was a history major at La Salle University in Philadelphia. At the time, there was a push from police departments to hire college graduates, liberal arts majors in particular. He wanted a big-city job, but settled for Hillside Township, N.J., which borders Newark, in part because it waived a residency requirement for college graduates. Flynn received a master’s degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It was there that his goal of becoming a police chief took hold. The courses required digging into the scholarship on the problems of modern policing: The challenges of urban areas; the resistance of organizations to change; how officers interact with the public. In 2003, Flynn was tapped by then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to be state secretary of public safety, overseeing a $1 billion budget and some 10,000 employees in corrections, state police, homeland security, and related areas.


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