Solving crimes is good, but preventing crimes is better, says Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn. That is much of the reason behind Flynn’s reorganization of the Police Department’s detective bureau, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Officially called the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the unit handles major crimes, from homicides to sexual assaults. Most detectives are stationed at downtown headquarters, investigating crimes throughout the city. The reorganization is a major step toward basing many detectives, with the exception of homicide and other specialized units, in the city’s seven police districts.
Assigning detectives to districts will let them focus on a geographic area, enabling them to develop better intelligence about crime patterns and repeat offenders within neighborhoods, said Assistant Chief James Harpole, head of the detective bureau. The goal is to improve communication between detectives and uniformed officers. “What we want to do is develop information from the (Criminal Investigation Bureau) and share it with the patrol people so they can do something on the preventative side,” Flynn said. Decentralizing the detective bureau has been “a hard sell,” Harpole said. “This new organizational plan focuses the Criminal Investigation Bureau’s activities not just simply on investigating and clearing (crimes) but on the reduction and prevention of crime,” he said. “Refocusing an organization that’s traditionally been clearance-based for the purposes of (its) success has been a challenge.”