Milwaukee leaders are asking why a long-promised computer system that would help identify problematic police officers still is not online, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The “Early Intervention Program” pitched by Chief Nannette Hegerty more than three years ago still is in the works. The Police Department’s latest projection is that the $500,000 program will be working by late April. In the meantime, the department must analyze officers’ use of force by reviewing thousands of written reports by hand.
The department had major problems with its $7 million computerized crime-tracking system in 2005. That system is now the subject of a city audit. Alderman Bob Donovan, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, wants to know why the police have so many problems with computers. “Anything technical at the Police Department is always millions over budget and years behind schedule, and I don’t know understand that. We need to get to the bottom of this, and in a hurry,” he said. On Sunday, the Journal Sentinel reported that in three years, former officer James Langer used force more often and generated more complaints than his peers, and three times used his flashlight as a weapon. The department knew about Langer’s record but didn’t order training, counseling, or punishment. Mayor Tom Barrett said the case is evidence of the need to get the tracking system working quickly. “I think there were an obvious number of very violent situations that should have been spotted more quickly,” he said.