On Thursday, the Milwaukee Police Department’s Chief-of-Police, Ed Flynn, held a news conference to discuss the wave of violence that has shaken even the city’s typically complicit media. In the immediate aftermath of the chickens of the chief’s failed policies coming home to roost, Flynn pulled an Obama by taking no responsibility for anything while blaming others.
With the vast majority of the Milwaukee media willing to regurgitate and disseminate Flynn’s tripe, the chief-of-police knows, for the most part, that the gaggle of reporters — ninety percent of whom are liberals that scoff at the Second Amendment — will give the chief a pass while gleefully airing his anti-gun sound bites.
While responding to the usual softball question from reporter Myra Sanchick, who had solicited Flynn’s “reaction to the situation playing out of four people dead,” the police chief blamed a subculture of violence. Certainly, Flynn’s response was disingenuous. Over the course of the last four decades, a subculture of violence has permeated certain sections of the city, which led to the next reporter’s Captain Obvious question:
“Chief [Flynn], any theories as to how that’s changed from last year [when Milwaukee had 19 homicides on April 16, as opposed to the 115% increase in the 2015 murders to date]? What’s going on this year?”
Flynn sighed, noted “an interlocking set of challenges,” and then went on a diatribe about having a rational “discussion of firearms without awaking the sleeping beast of the Second Amendment defenders who have, you know, never met a gun law they liked.”
In the next breath, Flynn did what left-of-center politicos do when their failed policies are exposed — he blamed Milwaukee talk-show hosts. “If we could all turn off our AM radio stations for a couple of days, and engage in rational discourse, about what it takes to effect the thinking of career criminals carrying firearms, we might make some progress.”
Clearly, Flynn is desperately grasping for whatever straws he can to prop-up his crumbling administration. The man involved in the homicides that the chief-of-police is referring to, Ricky Ricardo Chiles III, was a convicted felon with a lengthy rap sheet. Chiles was on parole for bank robbery and, according to news reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was “…sentenced to far less than the maximum penalty of 10 years after the judge was told about his cooperation [with the Milwaukee Police Department] in an unrelated homicide case.”
In essence, Flynn’s police department, in an effort to secure Chiles’ cooperation, sought to secure a lesser sentence for the bank robber to nab a homicide suspect. While this set of circumstances is certainly not unusual, the chief-of-police seems to want it both ways. On one hand, Flynn blames Gov. Walker and the legislature for gun laws that, in the chief’s opinion, are not tough enough. On the other hand, his own department — in conjunction with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office — obtained a get out of jail early card for Chiles.
From my experience in the field, Wisconsin’s gun laws are not the problem. Wisconsin State Statute 941.29 prohibits felons from possessing firearms, while subsection four makes it a felony crime to knowingly furnish a firearm to a felon. Chief Flynn’s straw man argument that the city is awash with guns, and more gun laws would prohibit firearms from falling into the hands of felons, is a red herring used to cover over his own flawed policies.
For example, during this same news conference, Chief Flynn argued some of the 2015 Milwaukee homicides have occurred because of drug violence. The simple possession of narcotics is a crime and each individual illicit drug sale is a felony. Yet few, if any, law enforcement officials would seriously argue that the prohibition of illegal narcotics has prevented users from obtaining their desired commodity.
To answer the reporter’s question to Flynn, which the chief-of-police conveniently ducked, what has changed in Milwaukee is that criminals now believe that the Milwaukee Police Department is a paper tiger. By throwing Officer Christopher Manney under the bus to appease the grievance community, and by implementing policies, such prohibiting the vast majority of vehicle pursuits, the MPD has become the laughing stock of the city’s hoodlums.
A few days ago, this report was typed into the Milwaukee Police Department’s Computer Assisted Dispatch system: “Just occurring…Stolen auto taunting sqd. that can’t pursue. Driving back n forth beeping at the sqd. Same stolen auto tried to ram same officers/sqd yesterday.”
Based on the reports from officers in the field, such as the one above, I have created a new hashtag at Twitter, #BeAFarce, a spoof of Flynn’s MPD motto, “Be a force.”
A few days ago, a supporter of Mayor Barrett’s asked what I would do differently than Flynn, at which time I provided this eight-point response:
• Establish well-organized, well-supervised, and decentralized ASP (Area Specific Policing) units in each district
• Besides ten analysts, gut the Orwellian fusion center and form a narco-gang intel unit, and, then, coordinate with the district ASP units
• Hire 200 officers and adequately staff police districts
• Revitalize and adequately staff the MPD’s once nationally renowned detective bureau by permitting homicide detectives to purse killers, even if overtime is required
• Back-up the officers on the street — those who follow the edicts of the Constitution — instead of throwing them under the bus
• Reorganize IAD by ridding the unit of those who simply say ‘yes’ to the brass instead of conducting independent investigations
• Require each district captain to reach out to community organizations and law-abiding residents of neighborhoods to reestablish a certain trust diminished by the MPD’s abhorrent response times
• Appoint a chief-of-police more concerned with crime suppression than formulating a thesis for a PhD dissertation.
Moreover, the Milwaukee Police Department’s administration is top-heavy and needs reorganization, which should be conducted by a leader who actually lived in Milwaukee, and has an institutional knowledge of the city and its police department.
In interim, Milwaukee is stuck with Chief Flynn, who, unfortunately, since becoming entangled in an extramarital affair with a married reporter, has lost any semblance of independence from the city’s caretaker mayor.
Steve Spingola is an author, retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective, and a contributor to TNT’s Cold Justice. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.
If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.
© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2015