Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has announced his retirement, capping a turbulent period during his tenure as the city’s top cop, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Flynn, 69, made his announcement one day after the 10th anniversary of his appointment and days before he was scheduled to go before the city’s Fire and Police Commission for a performance evaluation. His retirement is to be effective Feb. 16. The chief is in the middle of his third term, which was scheduled to expire Jan. 7, 2020. The commission said it would select an acting chief from within the department and seek candidates familiar with department structure and who have the confidence and trust of officers and the wider community.
Assistant Chief James Harpole has served as acting chief when Flynn is away. Harpole was among five finalists for the chief’s post when it was last open in 2008. Flynn’s first two years as chief were marked by Milwaukee’s lowest homicide rates since 1985, though homicides and nonfatal shootings have trended upward since 2010. His trademark has been expanding the use of technology and data at the department. Flynn said he had wanted to stay on the job in 2017 to bring down the spikes in homicide, which reached a decades-high of 145 victims in 2015, and other violent crime increases. He said the department had made “significant progress,” with homicides declining by about 18 percent last year. For the most part, Flynn managed to keep the support of city leaders through scandals both personal — an extramarital affair with a journalist — and professional.