Has the Cap of Law Enforcement Professionalism Come Off?

“Politics is war without guns,” former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong once said.  “War is politics with guns.”

Mao’s pointed but extremist view of the political arena is an illustration of why politics—even in the United States—is often referred to as a ‘blood sport.’

As such, observers of the political theater better known as Battleground Wisconsin should not be all surprised by heavy-handed tactics and dirty tricks. 

Yet Ian Murphy, a kook-blogger from Buffalo, New York, recently reached a new, Nixonian-type low last week when he telephoned the office of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. During a secretly recorded telephone conversation, Murphy falsely assumed the identity of industrialist David Koch and then attempted to bait the governor with over-the-top rhetoric.  The strategy behind the the call proved unsuccessful, although the lack of due diligence by the governor’s staff in vetting the imposter is glaring.

Of course, politicians with vicious dogs in this fight, as well as those carrying water for their partisan bosses, are interpreting Walker’s remarks to benefit their side’s agenda.

In comments made to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray took issue with Gov. Walker’s response to Murphy’s baited question about placing “troublemakers” in the crowd of protestors. 


But what is the definition of an actual “troublemaker”?

Is it an elected member of Congress telling others that, in reference to events in Wisconsin, “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary”? 


Is it trespassing and then, for all practical purposes, taking over the private property of another?


Is it acting like a group of spoiled, out-of-control teenagers who couldn’t get their way on the floor of the State Assembly?


 Or, worse yet, is it committing felony? 

In this instance, Chief Wray is not only selective in whom he publicly chides as instigators — he has it all backwards.  It is not Walker’s vague comments that are troubling, but rather Ian Murphy’s use of David Koch’s “personal identifying information” that points to evidence of a serious crime. 

According to Wisconsin state statute 943.201(2):  Whoever, for any of the following purposes, intentionally uses, attempts to use, or possesses with intent to use any personal identifying information or personal identification document of an individual, including a deceased individual, without the authorization or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, that he or she is acting with the authorization or consent of the individual, or that the information or document belongs to him or her is guilty of a Class H felony: 

(a) To obtain credit, money, goods, services, employment, orANY other thing of value or benefit;

(b) To avoid civil or criminal process or penalty;

(c) To harm the reputation, property, person, or estate of the Individual.

Wisconsin state statute 943.201(1)(b)(1) describes “personal identifying information” as “an individual’s name.”

Now if Murphy made this call out-of-state, a prosecution for violating state law maybe problematic; however, persons involved in the commission of crimes that occur in Wisconsin face the possibility of charges if they conspired to commit the crime in another state.  Wisconsin state statute 939.31 describes a conspiracy as follows:

“Whoever, with intent that a crime be committed, agrees or combines with another for the purpose of committing that crime may, if one or more of the parties to the conspiracy does an act to effect its object, be fined or imprisoned or both not to exceed the maximum provided for the completed crime; except that for a conspiracy to commit a crime for which the penalty is life imprisonment, the actor is guilty of a Class B felony.”

Ethically, Chief Wray’s department needs to put politics aside and investigate if an actual felony may have occurred during Murphy’s conversation with Gov. Walker; otherwise, Wisconsin’s attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, has the authority to step in and do so.

During heated political discourse, labor unrest, or civil strife, law enforcement agencies become—like it or not—the uniform arbitrators of fairness.  One section of The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics reads, “I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions.”

Could it be that Chief Noble Wray has checked his cap of professionalism at the door and is simply walking in lock step with his city’s mayor, Dave Cieslweicz?



Steve Spingola is an author and former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011

10 Responses

  1. It appears that Noble Wray is the ideal police chief for the City of Madison, the home where elderly hippies of the 60’s and 70’s have built the commune they always wanted. His antics over the last years have been pointedly liberal to say the least.

    February 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  2. Larry

    Wray can’t manage to keep his billfold in his pants when he visits Milwaukee and making 100 grand a year pay his electric bill. He is just cog in Madison’s liberal machine.

    February 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

  3. Pewaukee 5-0

    Who is going to investigate the blogger, Noble Wray? No way. The Dane County DA, no way? The far left of the Democrat Party and their union thugs have no respect for the rule of law. All they care about is how their politics can gain an advatage by any means necessary. They are like the Greek rioters throwing a temper tantrum.

    February 27, 2011 at 1:13 am

  4. Jimmy Two Times

    Maybe Chief Wray should concentrate on getting a Truckers Wallet after mysteriously “Losing” it in the area of 30th and Weslls Street. Stay Classy!

    February 27, 2011 at 4:13 am

  5. CheezHeadDujour

    As long as the Democrats in Madison are breaking the law to benefit their own political agenda Chief Wray will just look the other way. He is ONE of them, not a professional law enforcement officer but a partisan Democrat auditioning for a job for the Obama administration.

    February 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

  6. Jeanna

    Maybe Noble Wray should focus less on taking sides and wrongfully targeting Gov. Walker and try to solve the homicides of Kelly Nolan and Brittany Zimmermann. Seems like he’s kind of falling down on the job of seeking justice for these victims.

    February 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

  7. WB

    The Madison area needs a bath. Noble Wray is a political hack and so is the state police union guy, Jim Palmer. All the coppers who pay dues to the WPPA should be ashamed of Palmer. He is nothing more than a mouth piece for his progressive buddies in Madison.

    February 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

  8. Kay

    The leader of the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association, Jim Palmer, encouraged law enforcement officers to keep the capitol building open in violation of an order issued by Capitol Police, which was later rescinded.

    Palmer is not a law enforcement officer. He is a political hack attached to the hip of the Jim Doyle liberals in Madison.

    For those of you who are interested in making your disgust about Palmer and other law enforcement unions backing such disrespect for the law, please send e-mails to the following:

    Dennis LaCaptain, the sworn law enforcement leader of the WPPA dlecaptain@wppa.com
    Joe Durkin, a retired sergeant and field director of the WPPA durkin@wppa.com
    Dan Frei, President of the Madison police union dkfrei@msn.com

    March 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

  9. DianeK

    Do you know if J.B. Van Hollen is considering pressing charges against Murphy? Being a Republican, I would think he’d be picking up the slack for this liberal police chief.

    Last night, I read an account from an officer who spent 12 hours on his feet inside the Capitol. He was brought in from another municipality, and I assume that is in addition to (not in place of) his regular shift.

    What he described was disturbing. In addition to the stench and utter disregard for the Capitol, he talked about how the officers were told to stow their riot gear in a tunnel under the building. They were not allowed to use pepper spray and could only dry tazer with permission. He didn’t say this, but I gather that they are there to babysit and look good for the cameras.

    I worry what will happen if things get any uglier? Will the cops who support the unions finally step in, or will they continue to look the other way. The handling of the Sunday deadline makes me wonder.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  10. Working4ALiving

    Police officers or their representatives that encourage others to break the law to the benefit of their own liberal beliefs should be canned. Tomorrow, a few t housand state workers will receive layoff notices. When their unemployment runs out, I probably end up meeting them while they are working at the checkout counter at Kwik Trip as I pay for my morning cup of joe. I’m sure many of them will soon be thinking, ‘What was the union thinking’?

    March 1, 2011 at 6:27 pm

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