The Milwaukee Police Department is “Improving but not where it needs to be,” chief Edward Flynn tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. On the one-year anniversary of his swearing-in, Flynn has taken to pulling out copies of his speech from Jan. 7, 2008, in which he stressed his mission of reducing crime, fear, and disorder. Since then, homicides are down and arrests are up. His approach seems to be working so far. Major crime in Milwaukee decreased 2.4 percent through the first nine months of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, and in 2008, the city recorded its lowest number of homicides since 1985.
“Anecdotally, I had a rank-and-file police officer come up to me last week and thank me,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “He said, ‘Thank you for appointing this guy chief. I’d go to war for this guy.’ ” Probably Flynn’s biggest strategic move was to redeploy 200 officers from specialty units such as intelligence, vice and motorcycles to patrol neighborhoods with the most crime, many on foot. Flynn acknowledged that his department still must work to restore its relationship with Milwaukee residents; he said officers will go through leadership training based on a program created at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.