Oops–Milwaukee Police Gave Wrong Data, Service Calls Down


The Milwaukee Police Department said yesterday it had received fewer calls for service in 2009 than in the previous four years, contradicting data it had given the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier. The newspaper had requested monthly totals of both calls for service received by the department and calls to which officers were dispatched from 2005 through the beginning of 2010. The data showed the department had received more than 817,000 in 2009, an increase of about 23 percent over the average for the previous four years.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said the information incorrectly included data on all officer activities, including not only responding to calls for service but also tasks such as conducting traffic stops, interviewing people on the street, taking lunch breaks, and returning to a station to write reports. The department actually received slightly more than 254,000 calls for service in 2009, lower than the totals for any of the previous four years. “The reality of crime and the perception of crime are very important issues in this city, and I don’t want to have inadvertently provided data that undermines people’s confidence in what’s going on out there,” Flynn said.

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