At least 93 Milwaukee police officers – ranking from street cop to captain – have been disciplined for violating the laws and ordinances they were sworn to uphold, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found. The offenses range from sexual assault and domestic violence to drunken driving and shoplifting. All still work for the police department, where they have the authority to make arrests, testify in court, and patrol neighborhoods.
Officers who run afoul of the law often aren’t fired or prosecuted, the newspaper found. The police department, district attorney, and Fire and Police Commission share responsibility for keeping officers in line. All three fall short. The department tolerates misconduct. Prosecutors give cops career-saving deals. The commission reduces punishments when officers break rules. Police who cross to the other side of the law keep the power that comes with the badge. Citizens have no way of knowing whether the officers responsible for protecting them have tarnished records.