Cop Talk

FBI’s Use of Fusion GPS Dossier Problematic

Since the release of the Nunes and Grassley memos, several readers of the Spingola Files have inquired about the nuances of obtaining warrants from a court to search for evidence or to eavesdrop on electronic communications.

Based on these memos, news reports, and statements of investigative journalists, we know that, in the summer of 2016, the upper echelon of the FBI sought to obtain a court order to eavesdrop and monitor four members of “the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.” An application to conduct intrusive electronic surveillance of the Trump campaign was made to a secretive Foreign Surveillance Intelligence (FISA) court; however, the judge declined to sign the warrant, and instructed the FBI to “narrow its focus.”

To the chagrin of its judges, civil libertarians often refer to FISA courts as “rubber stamps.” From their inception in 1979 through 2015, FISA courts have rejected just twelve of 38,169 warrant requests.

One reason search warrants and court orders are rarely rejected by judges in FISA or civilian courts is the supporting documents — typically affidavits and/or sworn testimony — are thoroughly reviewed by prosecutors or other high-level government attorneys prior to judicial review. To have a search warrant or court order rejected during a judicial review is not only embarrassing, but an indication of ineptitude or jaundice on the part of the government attorney who signed-off on the application.

In law enforcement circles, an ethical investigator or prosecutor would take any additional requests for court orders pertaining to the same target(s) back to the judge who initially rejected the request. If, for some reason, the initial judge is unavailable, an ethical agent would advise the reviewing judge that the initial request for a court order had been denied. To do otherwise is called “judge shopping,” an unethical practice of seeking out judges with a reputation of giving greater consideration to the government. At this point, we do not know if the FBI took any subsequent request for court orders regarding the Trump team back to the initial judge.

This is where the FBI’s eavesdropping of the Trump transition team gets interesting. Based on the aforementioned memos, its seems the FBI sought to beef up its previously denied FISA court application with the Fusion GPS dossier, a document that contains “salacious” and “unverified” allegations pertaining to candidate Trump. We also know the FBI used a media report from Yahoo News in its affidavit at the FISA court. However, it appears the Yahoo News story consists of sourced information leaked to the news outlet by Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled much of the Fusion GPS “Trump dossier.” Steele’s services were underwritten by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

What we do not know is what the FBI told the FISA court during its application and renewal applications for an order to eavesdrop on Carter Page, an American citizen who had done volunteer work for the Trump campaign. Did the FBI tell the judge, in writing or verbally, that the Fusion GPS dossier was actually a document paid for by the Democrats? Did the FBI represent foreign national Christopher Steele as a credible, unbiased source? Did the FBI explain to the court that Steele leaked much of the information obtained from the Yahoo News article used in its affidavit?

Even more troubling are the details from the Grassley memo, which state “a friend of the Clintons,” and other “Clinton associates” passed information to Steele, which became a part of the Fusion GPS dossier. In other words, the Grassley memo alleges that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, in effect, paid for and supplied some of the contents of an FBI affidavit used to monitor the Trump campaign.

Though many of the aforementioned questions have yet to be answered, a hunch tells me there is a FISA court judge out there who believes the upper echelon of the FBI, and possibly some high-ranking members of the DOJ, may owe him or her an explanation.

A Retired Cop’s Observations

baarys-worldat SF:

This Facebook post by Randall Miller, a retired law enforcement officer from Wisconsin, is so salient that it merits a Spingola Files’ mention.

Yes, the Officer involved in Charlotte was black.

Back in the early 1970s, when I was a white cop in an almost all black neighborhood, the black activists blamed all the problems on the nearly all-white “occupation army” of cops. So, they hired black cops, even if they had to drop the hiring standards to do so. Okay, fine, nothing changed.

Then the black activists blamed it on the fact that the black cops worked for white supervisors and managers. So, cities started promoting black cops using affirmative action to push them ahead of other candidates. Okay, fine, nothing changed.

Then the black activists complained that the power structure of government in these predominantly black cities was white, so blacks (all Democrats) became Mayors and won election to other positions of power in major U.S. cities and ran everything. Okay, fine, nothing changed.

And that’s where we are today and it is obvious to this old man that the next frontier is a frontal attack on the very laws of the land as being “white” and, therefore, racist, because what else is left to challenge?
But what are we going to replace it with?

Some sort of reverse racial lynch mob system of justice where, if a black person is killed by cops, even if it is certainly legally justified under “the white man’s law”, the cop must be punished no matter what the circumstances?

I think the term used to describe what is being advanced is simply “anarchy.”

And, isn’t it the biggest racist slap in the face to blacks the very idea that they are somehow incapable of living under the existing laws of society? What sort of feral humanoids does that suppose that they must be as a people? Shameful. Almost unimaginably shameful.

It’s logic turned upside down. It’s a racist inversion of the natural order of things. And it is oppressing us all.
Randall Miller is a retired law enforcement officer from Wisconsin.

Police Use of Orwellian Technology Raises Red Flag

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:–367577431.html

In response to this post, a vigorous debate between the cops of yore and those of the job today occurred on Facebook (please see the link):

Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.

The Democrat Party’s War on the Police

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.

Milwaukee’s Murders by the Numbers

In the first half of 2015, violent crime has ravaged the city of Milwaukee. The following is a demographic breakdown of the city’s 2015 homicides year-to-date:

Milwaukee has experienced 54 homicides;

About 81.5 percent of homicide victims were African-American, although this demographic group represents 40 percent of the city’s population;

About 12 of Milwaukee’s population is Hispanic, but just 7.5 of murder victims were Latino;

About 11 percent of those killed were white, a group that comprises about 45 percent of the city’s population;

About 76 percent of murder victims were shot to death, while stabbings accounted for about 13 percent of murders;

About 87 percent of African-Americans murdered were shot to death;

Seventy-five percent of Hispanic victims were stabbed to death;

Fifty-percent of whites were killed by gunfire.

These statistics illustrate that gun crime in Milwaukee is primarily a north side, inner city problem.

About 400,000 people reside in Milwaukee neighborhoods north of the Menomonee Valley. As such, Mayor Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn are asking the state legislature to pass new gun laws due to the actions of just a handful of residence that, in total, represent only seven percent of Wisconsin’s overall population.
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

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

Latest Milwaukee PD Stats Show Crime is UP

For those in the media who apparently do not believe that Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn’s failed policies have come home to roost, the numbers do not lie.

Here is a very recent tally of the City of Milwaukee’s crime stats:

Homicides: 2014 = 17; 2015 = 46, for a 171% increase to date.

As of April 21, 2015, the homicide clearance rates:



2015 (to date)………….48%

Note: when I served in the MPD’s homicide unit in the 1990s, the homicide clearance rate was typically in the low 80 percentile.

Aggravated Assault Firearm: 2014 = 442; 2015 = 608, a 38% increase to date.

Armed (Gun) Robbery: 2014 = 507; 2015 = 563, a 11% increase to date.

Non-fatal shootings: 2014 = 96; 2015 = 127, for a 32% increase to date.

Aggravated assault (non-gun): 2014 = 1139; 2015 = 1267, a 11% increase to date.

Robbery: 2014 = 830; 2015 = 939, a 13% increase to date.

Auto Theft: 2014 = 1462; 2015 = 1724, a 18% increase to date.

Forcible rape: 2014 = 59; 2015 = 44, a 25% decrease to date.

Priority One calls for service: 2014 = 14976; 2015 = 17666, a 18% increase to date.

In addition to the MPD’s restrictive non-pursuit policy, officers are being encouraged to give warnings rather than issuing citations or affecting arrests, which MPD insiders believe is being done to manipulate statistics. Each “stop” constitutes a “dot” on Compstat maps that represents police activity.
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

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

#BeAFarce Turning the Milwaukee PD into a Laughing Stock

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

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

Right to Work and Law Enforcement

Within the span of the next month, Gov. Scott Walker will likely sign a right to work bill. This legislation does not prohibit unions; however, it gives those employed in a union shop the ability to opt-out of paying union dues. Proponents of right to work say that compelling an employee to pay for a service they do not necessarily agree with is discriminatory. Opponents of the legislation argue that workers exempt from paying dues will reap union benefits absent any financial contributions.

Yesterday, I was asked how this legislation might affect law enforcement, particularly the Milwaukee Police Association — the union that represents the Milwaukee Police Department’s rank-and-file. Since the devil is in the details, and a work-up of the right to work bill has not been made public, it is difficult to say.

Nevertheless, police unions — the MPA being the most influential — provide a valuable service to law enforcement officers in Wisconsin. Just think of the ways a petty and vindictive police chief could harass and cajole officers who have fallen out of favor. Absent seniority, a veteran copper with twenty-four years on the job could suddenly — and without cause — be transferred from working days to the graveyard shift.

Absent union representation, officers involved in shootings or other uses of force would need to pony-up fifteen to twenty thousand dollars for an attorney to simply guide them through the rigors of an Internal Affairs investigation. Absent a contract with the rank-and-file, a chief-of-police could unilaterally determine an officer’s vacation picks. If a particular person — say, for example, the officer who had leaked information to the media regarding Chief Flynn’s suppression of a voting irregularities report — was in the chief’s dog house, he or she could be regulated to February and November vacations.

So, my advice to ALL officers is this: pay your union dues. Being a police officer is much different than working for the Clerk of Courts or laboring at a brewery. Sitting at a desk or attaching parts on an assembly line is a world away from performing shift work in areas that resemble war torn countries.

Vis-à-vis Act 10 and the cuts to the university system, Gov. Walker is attempting to de-fund the left. Public employee unions, particularly those representing public school teachers, are a huge source of Democratic Party capital. Likewise, ninety percent of the UW System’s professors lean far to the left and, by developing thinly veiled political ‘narratives,’ are happy to reeducate the young minds sent their way. After all, it is taxpayer dollars — the block grants to Saul Alinsky-like community organizations, the dues collected from the public education apparatus, and the grievance agenda of academia — that, to a large extent, fuel the secular progressive left.

Political agendas aside, rank-and-file coppers all over the country are under attack. Clearly, Scott Walker did not lead the protests in New York City that ended with shouts of, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!” That crowd was affiliated with Al Sharpton, a man who has visited the White House on numerous occasions to consult with President Obama. Still, the governor’s signature on a right to work bill could negatively impact every law enforcement officer’s quality of life.

Thus, it is important to remember that the only thing separating rank-and-file coppers from a Christopher Manney-style railroading or from the secular progressive cop-haters is the MPA. As Benjamin Franklin said during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, those who find themselves in difficult circumstances need to “hang together” or they will “hang separately.”

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

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

The Letter the “Fish Wrapper” Refused to Publish

Below is a letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which the newspaper or, as many old school Milwaukee police officers call it, the “fish wrapper,” refused to publish.  On October 28, after receiving no response from the Journal Sentinel Editorial staff, I e-mail David Haynes — the JS’s Editorial Editor — and requested that the below op-ed be published.  Mr. Haynes never replied to the e-mail.


October 24, 2014

Dear Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editor:

On the first floor of the City of Milwaukee’s Safety Academy, the names and photographs of over five dozen Milwaukee police officers grace a wall that literally showcases their service. This distinguished honor, however, is one that every Milwaukee police officer seeks to avoid, as the faces on this wall are of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

During my three-decades with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), I have spent a great deal of time — as a homicide detective and as a lieutenant — retracing the final moments of those who no longer walk among us. Certainly, some of these tragic deaths could have been avoided. One particular case that comes to mind is the March 19, 1985, coldblooded murders of Rosario Collura and Leonard Lesnieski — two Milwaukee police officers gunned down on the near north side. On that fateful day, the officers approached Terrance Davis, who they suspected of selling drugs from the porch of a home.  When one of the officers asked if he had anything in his pockets, Davis replied, “Yeah, I’ll show you,” at which time he removed a handgun from a pocket and shot both officers to death. What we will never know is why the officers, instead of asking, did not conduct a pat down of Davis.

Seventeen-years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court held that police officers could conduct a frisk of an individual’s outer most garment if an officer — based on the totality of the circumstances— reasonably believed that a person may be armed. Pat downs have undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous police officers. From experience, few things are as hair-raising as conducting frisk and detecting a concealed weapon on a person.  Yet, 29-years after the deaths of Officers Collura and Lesnieski, the importance of officer safety is being marginalized by the political correctness of Police Chief Edward Flynn.

On October 15, Chief Flynn terminated the employment Officer Christopher Manney, an officer with 13-years of street-level experience, for allegedly conducting a pat down of Dondre Hamilton in violation of MPD policy. After reading the MPD’s allegations and Officer Manney’s response, I sought input from a number of veteran officers.  To a person, we collectively believe Officer Manney’s actions were appropriate. While I typically do not purport to speak for others, I am confident in noting that Chief Flynn’s firing of Officer Manney is being met with widespread condemnation from those who have worn an MPD uniform.

Unfortunately, I believe Chief Flynn’s irresponsible termination of Officer Manney is directly related to his lack of an institutional memory. In 1985, while serving with Officers Collura and Lesnieski at District Five, I have vivid memories of both officers smiling and conversing with their colleagues. During the same period, however, Chief Flynn was an officer in far-away Jersey City.  Thus, the image of Flynn as an east coast carpetbagger is fueling a consensus amongst the rank-and-file that the chief sees those fallen officers on that wall at the Safety Academy as simple strangers from a bygone era. This perception, vis-à-vis his treatment of Officer Manney, is reinforced by the police chief’s de facto memo to the rank-and-file that politics takes precedent over officer safety. No doubt, Chief Flynn is sending a dangerous message that, I believe, may result in more faces appearing on that wall of no return at the Safety Academy.  Will officers — fearful for their careers — be compelled to repeat the disastrous ways of the past by asking a dangerous or unstable person what those “bulges” are in his or her pockets instead of conducting a simple frisk? If only Officers Collura and Lesnieski could speak from the grave.


Steven Spingola


Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Lieutenant.

During the month of November, Spingola is donating his share of the proceeds from the sale of his book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. 1 & 2, to the Officer Manney Support Fund.

Author Mitchell Nevin is also donating  his November royalties of the print edition of his Milwaukee-based crime novel, The Cozen Protocol, and Glenn Frankovis is also providing his share of the royalties of his book regarding Area Saturation Patrol.  These books make great stocky stuffers and the authors’ share of the proceeds will assist Officer Manney.

SF Encourages a Vote ‘No Confidence’ on October 30

On October 30, the Milwaukee Police Association — the union representing the Milwaukee Police Department’s rank-and-file — will hold a vote regarding their confidence in Police Chief Ed Flynn. While retirees do not have a vote, SF would encourage active officers to register a vote of ‘no confidence.’

Clearly, the termination of Officer Christopher Manney is premised on political correctness. Supporters of Flynn’s irresponsible firing of Manney claim that politics had no role in the chief’s decision; however, the record shows otherwise.

“We’ve been placed in an almost impossible position,” Flynn is quoted in the April 3, 2013 edition of the New York Times, where he was listed as an “advocate of pedestrian stops, who said that stopping the tactic could harm the low-income, high-crime neighborhoods that civil rights groups say they want to protect.”

Then, in an August 2013 article in, Flynn seemed to endorse New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk initiative.  “That’s what worries us about what’s happening in New York,” said Flynn.  “It would  be a shame if some people decided to put us back  in our cars just answering calls and ceding the streets to thugs.”

Yet when his own officer, seeing “bulges” in the pockets of a man who appeared unstable, dared to conduct a same type of frisk that Flynn had previously supported, the chief terminated the officer’s employment.

As is the case with politicians, it is important to pay little attention to what they say but, instead, watch what they do. Flynn likes to talk tough and support his fellow east coast chiefs. But back in Milwaukee, where the rubber meets the road, the chief didn’t flinch when tossing a veteran officer under the bus to appease interest groups.

Milwaukee does not need a politician running its police department. Last year, the city’s per capita homicide rate surpassed Chicago’s.  In 2014, the Milwaukee Police Department’s homicide clearance rate is a dismal 40 percent. In the 1990s, when I served as a detective in the homicide unit, the clearance rate for murders was over 80 percent.  Under Chief Flynn’s leadership, a once nationally recognized detective bureau has been run into the ground, an officer now has been terminated for simply doing his job, and Americans have more confidence in Congress than Milwaukee officers now have in their police chief.

The time to act is now. On Thursday, SF encourages rank-and-file Milwaukee officers to register a vote of ‘no confidence.’


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

JS Editorial a Finger in the Eye of Rank-and-File Coppers

Last Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board stuck a finger in the eye of Milwaukee’s rank-and-file police officers by endorsing Police Chief Ed Flynn’s termination of Officer Christopher Manney.  The one-sided editorial did little but regurgitate the company line offered by Flynn.

The arrogance of the JS Editorial Board is evident for all to see. Why is it that those who penned the editorial did not reach out to critics of Flynn’s decision and obtain their input? The likely answer is that the cop haters on the editorial board, so willing to carry water for Flynn and the political hacks at City Hall, were well aware that the response to the police chief’s decision would be universal condemnation.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have yet to speak to a seasoned law enforcement veteran who, after reading the reports of Officer Manney’s contact with Dondre Hamilton, viewed Manney’s actions as inappropriate. Sure, there are a handful of bootlickers on the seventh floor of the Police Administration Building that will jump when Chief Flynn snaps his fingers, but real cops — those who work the streets and put their lives on the line — know that Chief Flynn and the JS Editorial Board are more interested in politics than making Milwaukee a safer place to live and work.

What is clear is that the newspaper’s editorial cabal have absolutely no police experience. If they had, they would care more about the safety of Milwaukee’s police officers than placating interest groups.  And, quite frankly, it is easy for white collar journalists to sit in their ivory tower on West State Street and pontificate about how cops should do their jobs, even though these same editorial writers probably lack the intestinal fortitude to police the streets of Milwaukee.

From this point forward, I would encourage Milwaukee police officers to set aside the October 16, 2014, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial supporting the termination of an officer for simply doing his job.  The rank-and-file needs to understand that they are under attack.  To paraphrase Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu: know your enemies, know yourself; one-hundred battles, one-hundred victories.

The firing of Officer Manney is so bizarre that it rivals the fictional plot to undermined rank-and-file Milwaukee police officers in The Cozen Protocol. Unfortunately, in the hallways of the seventh floor, fiction is now becoming a sad reality.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

How Can Ed Flynn Sleep at Night?

On Wednesday, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn terminated the employment of Police Officer Christopher Manney for conducting a frisk of Dondre Hamilton — a troubled man with psychological issues — in Red Arrow Park.

According to the Milwaukee Police Department’s Internal Affairs complaint:

During the April 30 incident, Hamilton resisted Officer Manney’s attempted pat down by putting “his arms down and a confrontation ensued.” Manney drew his baton and, after delivering a strike to Hamilton’s arm, Hamilton disarmed Manney and struck the officer in the neck with the baton. Fearing for his life, Officer Manney shot Hamilton numerous times.

Mr. Hamilton later passed away from injuries sustained in the shooting.

On September 23, 2014, Deputy Inspector Michael Brunson, the commanding officer of the Internal Affairs Division, alleged Manney “failed to adhere to policy when he failed to have a reasonable suspicion that Mr. Hamilton was armed with a weapon or posed a threat to him.” However, during a compelled interviewed with Internal Affairs, Manney told investigators that he observed “bulges” in Hamilton’s pockets.  In a response to the charges, Manney noted that Hamilton was lying down in a public park “in the path where the public walks” and that the officer “immediately suspected” that Hamilton “wasn’t in a normal state.”

Having over 30-years of law enforcement experience, I believe Manney followed the edicts of the courts during his contact and subsequent pat down of Dondre Hamilton. The burden of proof needed to conduct a frisk is a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a person MAY BE armed — an evaluation that is determined by the totality of the circumstances.  Bulges in the pockets of a seemingly unstable person in a public place could certainly lead a reasonable police officer to believe a person may be armed.  Moreover, I have yet to speak to a single officer — not a one — who believes Manney’s frisk of Hamilton was unjustified.

Consequently, Chief Flynn’s decision in this matter merits scrutiny. In situations such as the shooting death of Mr. Hamilton, rank-and-file police officers soon learn if their police chief is a dedicated law enforcement officer — a person who once toiled in the field and likely conducted dozens of frisks in a similar manner as Officer Manney — or a politician with a badge.  In this instance it is obvious that Flynn is a politician in a blue uniform.

So, I have a few questions for Chief Flynn:

Sir, how can you sleep at night knowing full well that you have thrown a police officer under the bus for simply doing his job?

Chief, do you actually believe that the rank-and-file officers of the MPD — the men and women who put their lives on the line policing troubled areas of Milwaukee — have any confidence in your leadership?

And how will your officer’s react knowing that you, sir, are willing to end their careers to appease City Hall political operatives, the press, and some disgruntled members of the public?

Chief Flynn, what incentive do the officers of your department now have to stop and question potentially armed and dangerous individuals, when, career wise, a better decision might be to drive right on by?

Chief Flynn, as a cop, you have lost your way. While I generally do not purport to speak for others, I feel confident in noting that your decision to fire Officer Manney for seeking to protect his person while performing a dangerous job is an embarrassment to those of us who have worn an MPD uniform.

Chief, with a 2014 homicide clearance rate of just 40 percent, and a per capita murder rate that rivals Chicago’s, maybe it is time to pack it in and call it a career.

Only the bootlickers on the seventh floor of the PAB or the Internal Affairs ‘yes men’ will bother to wave goodbye to Ed Flynn as he trots off to the east coast for a cushy consultant’s position.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Think Officer Safety When Voting Tuesday

In Mitchell Nevin’s book, “Psychic Reprieve,” FBI agents, working in conjunction with a detective from the Milwaukee Police Department, track down a would-be terrorist at a San Diego naval shipyard. The investigation results in the arrest of a man who planned a biological attack of a U.S. Navy ship. As depicted by Nevin, good intelligence is necessary to thwart such plots.

Written in the early Sixth Century B.C., Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu understood the importance of knowing those who would do him harm. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” Sun noted. “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Nevin’s book, which spotlights how a Jihadist terror suspect slipped across America’s southern border, as well as Sun’s quote, illustrates why President Obama’s open borders strategy is so utterly dangerous.

Late last month, Texas Senator Dan Patrick objected to the Obama administration’s unwillingness to adequately vet unlawful immigrants streaming across the southern border of the United States. In just four years, Patrick believes over 143,000 criminal gang members had entered Texas illegally. “We charged them with 447,000 crimes,” said the senator, “a half-million crimes in four years, just in Texas, including over 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders.”

On Thursday, two unlawful immigrant gang members were charged in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr., who was killed during a bungled robbery attempt. The two alleged suspects, Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, had been arrested and deported “numerous times.”

In an attempt to admit millions of unlawful immigrants he believes will vote Democrat, President Obama and his political operatives know very little about those who are entering this nation illegally, and, from the looks of it, they don’t care. Until our government gets a grip on who is seeking to cross the border and performs its due diligence on those who have already entered the U.S., any immigration bill should be put on hold.

Locally, a similar set of circumstances exist in southeastern Wisconsin. In the Democrat Primary for Milwaukee County Sheriff, Milwaukee Police Department Lieutenant Chris Moews has said that he will not fully cooperate with federal law enforcement if he is elected Milwaukee County Sheriff.

“I don’t think we should be doing the federal government’s job for them,” said Moews, as quoted on the Facebook page of Voces de la Frontera, a radical immigrant group that supports a wide-open southern border.

“Chris Moews has just sold his soul to a radical group that has no respect for the rule of law,” said Sheriff Clarke. “He is demonstrating that he will say anything and collaborate with a radical group to get elected.”

SF’s concern in the debate over unlawful immigration focuses primarily on one issue: public safety. Quite frankly, I — like the rank-and-file members of the U.S. Border Patrol — am very concerned that law enforcement officers will be the one’s forced to make the ultimate sacrifice as President Obama and Chris Moews’ wink-and-nod as criminal gang members, human traffickers, terrorists, and drug cartel members, stream into the U.S under the guise of garnering future Democrat Party votes.

The first course of action needed is to secure the southern border, even if it means deploying the United States Army. Once the border no longer leaks like a sieve, the nation needs to find a means to recognize those that are here short of full citizenship. After all, citizenship should be reserved for law-abiding adults who came to the U.S. legally, such as the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here, regardless of how they may or may not determine future elections.

For law enforcement officers in Milwaukee County, the safety of those wearing a badge is something to think about when voting in Tuesday’s primary election.
Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.
For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Blind Squirrels get it Right: Mike Koval Named Madison’s New Police Chief

As a criminal justice instructor, it is important to identify trends that might prove problematic for future law enforcement officers.  In 2009, the Spingola Files began spotlighting the issue of government surveillance.  Due to the influence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and at various state houses throughout the country, domestic spying has grown persistently worse.  In an effort to conceal the impact of America’s ever growing electronic iron curtain, at least one government official — James Clapper — has lied to congress.

President Obama has also told a whopper as well.  During an August 2013 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the President declared, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”

Holed-up in the White House, one has to wonder if the President is simply out of touch or has lifted a page out of the NSA’s playbook by attempting to sweep the truth under the carpet.  Just take a short drive along most major thoroughfares in southeastern Wisconsin.  Then, spend a few minutes counting all the cameras mounted at large intersections, the square white box cameras posted along the interstate, and the automatic license plate readers attached to squad cars — all paid for, in large part, with federal government grant money.

Yesterday, however, something out of the ordinary occurred.  The City of Madison appointed a new police chief.  Sgt. Mike Koval has worked for the Madison PD — save a two-year stint with the FBI — since 1983 .  A well-liked, gregarious police trainer with a law degree, Koval is uniquely qualified to have his finger on the pulse of liberty and security.  After his appointment was announced yesterday afternoon, Koval promised “to change the talking points” now circulating within the nation’s law enforcement community.

“Koval said he wants to reform an image of officers so that they’re seen as guardians of the public rather than militarized warriors,” wrote the Wisconsin State Journal’s Nico Savidge.

“We have to strike that balance,” said Koval, “between individual rights, personal liberties (and) police limitations on those powers that have been granted to us.”

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.”  SF is pleasantly surprised that a usual “blind squirrel,” the Madison Police and Fire Commission, ‘got it right’ by selecting Koval.  Hopefully, during one of the state’s junkets for police chiefs, Koval and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, who hasn’t seen a Big Brother surveillance system that he hasn’t liked, will have a heart-to-heart chat about America’s post-911 version of COINTELPRO, and the state’s two, 21st century versions of the old Special Assignment Squad, now dubbed intelligence fusion centers.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014

Is the Madison Police Chief’s Departure a Gentle Push Out the Door?

Within the next few days, the police chief of Wisconsin’s second largest law enforcement agency, the City of Madison Police Department, is set to retire.  Noble Wray, a 52-year-old empty nester, is exiting his post to spend more time with his family.

While Wray might be getting the glad-hand treatment from the liberal press, there are some who believe that he was gently pushed out the door by Madison’s far-left, on-again, off-again mayor, Paul Soglin, over the shooting death of a local musician at the hands of Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness.  On November 9, 2012, a highly intoxicated Paul Heenan attempted to enter the home of a couple, who contacted the police.  When Heimsness arrived, Heenan, it is alleged, reached for the officer’s firearm and, as one would expect, bad things happened.

The shooting death of Heenan was investigated thoroughly. The case was reviewed by the Dane County DA’s office and the Professional Performance Division of the Madison Police Department.  Both agencies later cleared Officer Heimsness.  However, with Madison being Madison, residents voiced outraged that an officer would dare shoot a man who simply reached for his firearm, even though common sense dictates that the purpose of disarming an officer is to retrieve and possibly turn the firearm against the officer.  Each year, about 15 percent of the police officers in the U.S. shot-and-killed in the line of duty die as a result of their firearms being turned against them.

Ironically, while it is the justifiably-ruled shooting death of Heenan that led, at least in a de facto sense, to Wray’s gentle exit, the homicides of Madison co-eds Brittany Zimmermann and Kelly Nolan remain unsolved.  The Madison media, for the most part, has given Wray a free pass on these two troubling slayings, even though the press is keenly aware that two killers remain at-large to offend again.  I profiled some of the problems with the Zimmermann investigation in my latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II.

From my conversations with those in the know, Wray’s record as chief is a mixed bag.  He riled the normally docile Madison Professional Police Officers Association — the union representing rank-and-file Madison officers, sergeants, and detectives — by ordering an internal investigation of Heimsness’ tenure as an officer after the shooting of Heenan, where it was learned that Heimsness sent some troubling messages over his squad car’s mobile data computer (MDC).  Granted, the messages were, to say the least, unprofessional, but they did not merit the officer’s termination, as Wray requested.  Looking at this investigation from the lens of my 30-plus years of policing experience, I believe Wray was trying to placate the liberal establishment in Madison by forcing Heimsness out the door for disingenuous reasons.

Moreover, while Wray asked the residents of Madison to trust him, he used his position as chief of police to advocate for the lenient treatment of minority felony offenders, citing a racial bias in the criminal justice system.  My position on this matter is simple: if an individual — regardless of his or her race — does not wish to spend time in prison, do not commit serious crimes and then whine like a stuck pig while incarcerated.

Others privately complain that Wray’s command staff is top heavy, with two captains having similar titles and basically the same job responsibilities as the Madison Police Department’s two assistant police chiefs.  Eliminating these positions would free-up about $300,000, enough to hire six additional police officers.  With the Madison media in the tank for Wray, reporters and newspaper editors have never dared ask, for a fear of reduced access, why a police department that serves a city of 215,000 people needs two assistant chiefs of the police.

As far as the selection process for the next City of Madison police chief, the Spingola Files has checked with sources and believes that the Madison Fire and Police Commission will expand the search to include external candidates. The Madison Police Department’s soon-to-be interim police chief, Randy Gaber, is considered too much of a good old boy insider to ascend to the top job, even though, barring some type of political controversy, his hands are steady enough to guide the department through the transition.  The most qualified internal candidate, if he chooses to apply, is Captain Vic Wahl.  If outside candidates can opt-in, Commander Michele Donegan, of the Nashville Police Department, and Assistant Police Chief Jessica Robledo, of the Austin PD, might apply.

If these conventional choices do not pan out, under Soglin’s influence, the Madison Fire and Police Commission might shake things up by appointing a complete, low level outsider, such as Madison’s flower child former police chief, David Couper, whose only qualifications were being a liberal and having served as a detective in small town Minnesota.


On Tuesday evening, I had the privilege to present the “Psychology of Homicide” program at the Racine Public Library.  Afterwards, CBS 58 profiled the event and other crime related issues on its 10 PM newscast.   To view the segment please visit the link below:


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Has a Soon-to-be Released Milwaukee Crime Book Struck a Nerve at the MPD?

Granted, I will admit, I am reading between the lines and do not possess any inside information on what is bouncing around inside the mind of Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn; however, his remarks at a recent luncheon held by the Milwaukee Rotary Club and Milwaukee Press Club lead me to believe that he is taking a backhanded slap at retired Milwaukee PD Captain Glenn Frankovis.

Before the Christmas book buying rush, Frankovis is determined to release a book he has authored about urban crime fighting strategies.  When it comes to rolling-up one’s sleeves and getting the job done on the crime front, the former police captain—for all practical purposes forced out by Milwaukee’s former police chief—pulls no punches and minces few words.

Initially a supporter of Chief Flynn, Frankovis has taken issue with some of the police chief’s politically correct approaches, such as Flynn’s advocacy for gun control, the police chief’s de facto gutting of the MPD’s detective bureau, and Flynn’s so-called data-driven policing operation.   During the course of the past three years, several current and former MPD personnel believe Flynn—for whatever reason—has evolved into a mouthpiece for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

In his address to the Milwaukee Rotary Club, Chief Flynn, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Ashley Luthern, said “(broken windows policing) never meant arrest everybody for every little thing you see them do. The departments that do that generate huge amounts of arrests, and their payoff is community resentment because you’re locking up folks for little stuff.”

If Chief Flynn, indeed, was taking a poke at Frankovis’ soon-to-be released book, the chief misrepresented the retired captain’s strategy.

Having spent nearly 30-years with the Milwaukee PD, I have, of course, spoken with a number of officers who have worked directly for Glenn Frankovis, especially members of his Area Specific Policing (ASP) teams at Districts Three and Five.  These were savvy coppers who didn’t write tickets to or arrest grandma Emma for violating city ordinances, and who didn’t need three day-old data to let them know where the bad guys had set-up shop.  Frankovis’s ASP officers focused their efforts on the narco-gang element and surgically disrupted these—for a lack of a better term—urban terrorist organizations.

The Spingola Files spotlighted some of Frankovis’ successes in an August 2013 post:

Violence in Milwaukee this summer had caused the city’s per capita homicide rate to surpass Chicago’s, which might mean that SF’s post regarding the retired captain’s forthcoming book might have touched a nerve on the 7th Floor of Milwaukee’s Police Administration Building.

Personally, I say let the battle of ideas begin.  With bodies pilling-up in the county morgue, Milwaukee, at a minimum, needs a steady diet of crime fighting discourse.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

A Factitious Fly on the Wall During the White House Summit on Crime

As the Spingola Files reported yesterday, Milwaukee’s 2013 per capita homicide rate has now surpassed that of gang invested Chicago.

Today, WTMJ radio reported that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn are “arriving back from Washington, DC. They traveled to the capitol to discuss violence” with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.–221460821.html

Here is how I imagine a factitious conservation between the meetings of these minds playing its way out:


Mr. Attorney General, our per capita homicide rate has exceeded President Obama’s hometown, a city riddled with Gangster Disciples, Latin Maniacs, Vice Lords and Black P-Stone Rangers.


Mayor Barrett, I can assure you that my politically correct initiative, which I unveiled last week in a speech to the American Bar Association—quite fittingly in San Francisco—will buy some good will in the community by refusing to have drug dealers mandatorily sentenced for crimes, my office, alone, feels are non-violent, back into your already violence plagued community.


Ah, Mr. Attorney General, ah, I don’t know all the nuances of your new policy , but, if I keep my mouth shut and refuse to criticize your decision to usurp the laws passed by congress, can my department get our hands on more borrowed or newly printed federal grant money. That way, when those you’ve refused to appropriately prosecute get out of prison early, my department’s Sharp Shooter gunshot detection system will be able to pinpoint the location of their crimes. Pretty please…more grant money and we’ll go away without making so much as a peep.


Mayor Barrett, now that your city’s crime fighting strategy has taken a back seat to Chicago’s, may I suggest that you get in touch with Rahm Emanuel, who has invited gang leaders to a summit on violence and has asked gang members not to fire indiscriminatingly into crowds when targeting rivals.  You might want to look into these strategies, which seem to be working better than Chief Flynn’s data driven policing—otherwise known as documenting where the dead bodies are chalked out before heading to the morgue.


And what about the attacks of black men by whites in Milwaukee, Chief Flynn? What do you plan to do about this?


Ah, ah, that really isn’t an issue for us, as we’ve had only one such incident, unless you count a tavern owner who recently shot and killed a man robbing his south side tavern as an unprovoked attack.  That being said I promise I will make it as difficult as I can for the tavern owner to get his gun back.


Why that robber, probably a troubled youth, would still be alive today if congress had passed my gun control legislation.  So what are we going to do to address the epidemic of violence in your city, Mayor Barrett?  How about throwing more money into programs that focus on early release and diversion so these troubled members of society do not get corrupted while in jail or prison?


Better yet, I could just slam Scott Walker for failing to fund $500,000 in police overtime, even though, at the same time, I am furloughing my own officers.


Tom, you’re a genius. Your plan won’t cost us a single penny. Demagoguery is so cost effective. How about I offer you that ambassadorship to Syria. Since you’re from Milwaukee, you’re used to the gunfire, right?


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Milwaukee’s 2013 Per Capita Murder Rate Higher than Chicago’s

In an August 12 post, I lamented that the resurgence of shootings and homicides in Milwaukee this summer is due, in part, the city’s policing strategy.  And, quite frankly, since that post over two weeks ago, things have actually gotten worse—more shootings, a couple more homicides, and an officer getting accosted and sent to the hospital by an emboldened thug element.

A review of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Web site this morning reports the following: a 43-year-old member of the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) Tactical Enforcement Unit is attacked by two men, ages 18 and 24, who sent the officer to the hospital after a foot pursuit.  At 6:30 PM, three juvenile boys were shot near S. 26 Street  and W. Lapham Ave. after a basketball game gone awry. Another article reports than homicides in Milwaukee are up 19 percent in 2013 during the same period from a year ago.

You know things in Milwaukee are going from bad to worse when the beer city’s per capita homicide rate surpasses Chicago’s, where a bloody summer has stained the office of its new mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Here are the numbers:

City                                 Population                           2013 Homicides               Per Capita Homicides

Chicago   2,707,000            270 One in 10,828 residents murdered.
Milwaukee     597,867              67 One in 8,923 residents murdered.


The officers on the street, as well as the brazen criminal element, are taking notice that the MPD’s crime fighting strategy is similar to President Obama’s redline remarks about Syria: like Obama, Chief Flynn’s bark is much worse than his bite.

“A Tac squad cop gets the s**t kicked out of him on 28 and Auer,” after two suspects who ran from the officer, turned and attacked, notes an officer deprecating the lack of adequate on scene back-up.   “Flynn and his policies are going to get a cop killed.”

Holding another roll call on the street won’t solve the problem of inadequate, on-scene officer back-up and drug dealers feeling empowered by the lack of a long term, area specific policing strategy.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Milwaukee’s Current Crime Fighting Strategy is a Part of the Problem

Over the course of the past month, I have had an opportunity to review retired Milwaukee Police Department’s Captain Glenn Frankovis’ work-in-progress manuscript regarding his vision of a successful urban crime fighting strategy.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Glenn, he is a pull no punches, no non-sense, when it comes to crime, type of guy.  His work ethic is very representative of Milwaukee, where hardworking people get up each day, roll-up their sleeves, and are willing to get their hands dirty.

When Frankovis was a street sergeant at District Two, he lobbied for a team of six officers to get a grip on an out-of-control gang of thugs that held a neighborhood hostage near S. 15th and W. Orchard Ave.  Ninety-days later, violent crime dropped over 60 percent.

As the commander of Districts Five and Three, he employed area saturation patrols to disrupt criminal activity in high-crime neighborhoods, such as Metcalfe Park. Under his leadership at District Five, overall major crimes decreased by 8.1% in 2002 and another 6.5% in 2003.  In 2002, District Five shootings declined by 42.8% and homicides by 48.6%.  In 2003, while in command of District Three, Frankovis oversaw a 15.5% reduction in violent crime, including a 21.7% reduction in robberies.

In early 2004, after gang members had threatened an officer under his command, Frankovis issued a memo to officers at District Three labeling these gangbangers “thugs.”  Calling a thug a thug was apparently too politically incorrect for the MPD’s police chief, Nan Hegerty, who buried the hard-charging captain in a job akin to counting paper clips.

“This is nothing I haven’t said before,” Frankovis told the Marquette Tribune, explaining that the memo was meant “…to send a clear and convincing signal to the thugs that the only thing they accomplished was to give (officers in District 3) cause to make their lives even more miserable than before.”

After being forced, in a de facto sense, into retirement, Frankovis later applied to become Milwaukee’s Chief-of-Police, but, in my opinion, was dismissed from contention because of his matter-of-fact willingness to call things the way he sees them.  In other words, he was too politically incorrect to surgically remove the cancer still eating away at Milwaukee—criminal gangs and organized crime related drug activity.

No doubt, Frankovis’ strategy is much different than Chicago’s current police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, whose response to Chicago’s out-of-control gang problem is more gun control.  Recently, the Chicago PD, at the behest of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, held a listening session about that city’s escalating violence; whereby, a number of representatives of street gangs were invited to contribute to the dialog.

Make no mistake about it; Glenn Frankovis would never, ever invite the “thugs” to the table.  To do so would be an insult to the law abiding and others who struggle, each day, to do the right thing while battling poverty and ignorance.

And though the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission dismissed Frankovis from becoming police chief in short order, their selection, Ed Flynn, has used a “data driven” policing strategy with mixed results.  While overall crime has declined, as it has nationally since Flynn’s tenure, violence in Milwaukee is once again on the rise.  Witness the rash of shootings in the last month. Moreover, the problem with “data driven” policing is once the data is collected the victims are already shot and/or lying on a slab in the morgue. Too often, this type of strategy is a day late and a dollar short, especially if one is a victim.

Over the course of the past few years, Glenn and I have kicked around our ideas on how to improve crime fighting efforts in Milwaukee.  We both agree that, like Chief Flynn, besides the homicide and sensitive crime units, the detective bureau should be decentralized. Unlike Chief Flynn, however, Glenn and I would not treat the detective bureau like the MPD’s bastard child.  Detectives play a vital role in solving serious crimes, which means, when they’re successful, heinous offenders typically wind-up in prison for long periods of time and, therefore, are unable to prey on society. Why Chief Flynn continues to display a level of contempt for the MPD’s detective bureau remains a mystery.  Not long before Flynn arrived, investigators from around the nation, as well as other countries, visited to Milwaukee to learn from its police department’s detectives.

While the mainstream media in Milwaukee has taken the bait and focused primarily on decreases in crime, the press has reported little—hint, hint—about the clearance rates of burglaries, robberies, shootings, and homicides. A hunch says that a handful of prosecutors in the Milwaukee County DA’s office believe that cases are going unprosecuted due to a lack of investigative follow-up and/or adequate investigation.

In the interim, put me down as a person anxiously awaiting Frankovis’ new crime fighting manual.  I’ll make sure to send a copy to Rahm Emanuel et al in Chicago.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Dane County Sheriff Gives Police Professionalism a Black Eye

In recent weeks, a group of left-wing activists, who call themselves “The Solidarity Singers,” have again decided to thumb their noses at the law by refusing to obtain a permit to illustrate their irrelevance by protesting in Wisconsin’s beautiful capitol rotunda.  Liberal narcissists—believing that their myopic opinions are somehow more enlightened than the majority of Wisconsin’s voters—trampling on rights of others, such as those seeking to get married in the rotunda, is nothing new.

More repugnant than Americans picking and choosing which laws they choose to obey is a high ranking law enforcement official injecting himself into the debate and using the color of his authority to run interference against the Capitol Police by siding, for political purposes, with the Solidarity Singers.

Conducting himself in a manner inconsistent with the concept of law enforcement professionalism, as well as own county’s ethics ordinance, is Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.  Since 1979, when a bill approved by Democrats in the state legislature and signed by Republican Governor Lee Dreyfus became law, a FREE permit is required to hold rallies inside Wisconsin’s glorious state capitol.

But Sheriff Mahoney apparently is of the opinion that unlawful conduct is acceptable if the lawbreakers are on the left side of the fence politically.

In late July, Mahoney appeared in the Capitol Rotunda and proclaimed, “I’m here to join alongside the Solidarity Singers. This is an example of freedom of speech. It’s an example of people coming together in solidarity for what they believe in.”

Absolutely no one is preventing the Solidarity Singers from obtaining the permit needed to occupy and disrupt a facility where official government business is conducted, including weddings and tours for school children.

“The permit is free and the group could continue to say and sing the same things they are today,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis, who, according to WISN radio, noted that the Capitol Police have stated they would approve a permit if the Solidarity Singers applied for one.

Then, on August 1, Sheriff Mahoney appeared on Mitch Henck’s WIBA-AM in an attempt to explain how he “isn’t on the side of the Solidarity Singers” and that he would “never encourage anyone to break the law.”


A hunch says that Sheriff Mahoney began getting blow back from the Capitol Police and others who truly believe in the concept of professional law enforcement. Ironically, the Dane County Sheriff boasts on his department’s official Web site  that, “We continue to make strides toward becoming the most professional, efficient, and cost effective agency employing progressive solutions to the ever-changing challenges facing our communities.”

In reality, by championing the cause of the Solidarity Singers and encouraging them to violate state law, one could make an argument that Sheriff Mahoney is in violation of Chapter Nine of Dane County ordinances that govern the ethical practices of elected officials.

Chapter 9.10 (1), STATEMENT OF POLICY, states, “The proper operation of democratic government requires that county officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people…”

If Sheriff Mahoney chooses to violate the law and encourages others to do so, the Capitol Police should treat him like any other law breaker.   Wouldn’t it be more than just a little ironic if officers arrested Mahoney and then booked him into his own jail?

Moreover, Dane County residents upset with Sheriff Mahoney’s lack of professionalism might want to file a complaint with the Dane County Ethics Commission.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officials violating policy and/or ethical standards by using the color of their office for political purposes is nothing new in Dane County. On March 13, 2011, the Spingola Files reported that Madison Police Department Sergeant Dave McClurg openly identified himself as a Madison police official while siding with protestors who had unlawfully occupied the state capitol. Even though the below video of McClurg that openly violates Madison PD policy is still posted online, the sergeant—apparently championing a cause his police chief and city officials sympathize with—was NEVER disciplined.

Responding to criticism of his lack of professionalism, McClurg posted a March 20, 2011, reply at the Spingola Files pleading poverty by stating, in part, “I don’t know about any of you but I’m still struggling at times with three kids, one in college. I don’t feel like the one of the haves I work off duty to pay the bills.”

For struggling Americans, some of whom work from January through the middle of May each year simply to pay their tax obligations; McClurg’s comments illustrate the arrogance and the sense of entitlement of some public employees.  A database of City of Madison employees’ salaries shows that McClurg earned $94,274.22 in 2010 and $94,113.61 in 2012.  His wife is a public school teacher, which means the McClurgs’ employment earnings probably topped a $135,000—not to mention the generous health care and pension benefits often unavailable to the private sector employees who pay his family’s wages and benefits.

While the Mahoneys and McClurgs in the bizarro world of Madison (not to pick on Irish-Americans) have used the color of their office to influence political perceptions free of any official consequences, the taxpayers, many of whom earn only a third of what McClurg does, are taking notice.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Spingola Files Shout Outs: U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Judge Jeffrey Wagner Set an Example for Others to Emulate

Once again, one of Wisconsin’s voices of reason in congress, U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner did the right thing on Thursday by voting for an amendment, offered by Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, that would have prevented any of the funds made available in the Appropriations Act or continuing funding resolution from being funneled to any order made under section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

This section of the Patriot Act (sec. 501) gives federal authorities the right to apply for and receive business records, such as debt and credit card transactions, bank statements, telephone records, and information stored by utility providers.  Rep. Sensenbrenner, who authored the USA Patriot Act in 2001, believes that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) seizure of the metadata of Americans’ telephone records violates the provisions of the very act he authored.

Clearly, by gathering data on Americans not linked to foreign terrorists or absent a lawful court order (unlike the broad based seizures approved by the secret FISA court) the NSA has exceeded the authority of its charter.

While campaigning for his current office, President Obama promised to rein-in government surveillance initiatives that trampled on civil liberties.  Now, however, the Obama administration’s expansion of Orwellian-type spying—not of suspected terrorists but on law abiding Americans—is the equivalent of George Bush and Dick Cheney on steroids.

While the vote to restrict the government’s use of section 501 funding failed on a vote of 217-205, a bi-partisan group of Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives have pledged that section 215 of the Patriot Act—a provision that allows the FBI to demand that carriers and technology companies give government agents data that MIGHT be relevant to an investigation—will not be renewed when it expires in 2015.

In a letter to the U.S. Justice Department, Rep. Sensenbrenner noted that, “Section 215 expires at the end of 2015.  Unless you realize you’ve got a problem, that is not going to be renewed. There are not the votes in the House of Representatives to renew section 215.”

Jim Sensenbrenner is a representative who understands that privacy and security require a delicate balance.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration, as well as 215 members of the House of Representatives, have bought into the statist mentality of the burgeoning security-industrial complex that, they apparently believe, takes precedent to the Bill of Rights.


From my experience as an investigator in Milwaukee County, I, along with dozens of other detectives, are well aware that Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Wagner is a hardworking jurist always willing to step up to the plate, even in the middle of the night, to review and authorize search warrants or to deal with other matters of criminal justice import.

Having spent a fair amount of time in Judge Wagner’s court, as well as in his chambers where he carefully scrutinized search warrants, I saw, first hand, an outstanding elected official that is willing to work with minor offenders while holding those who flaunt the law accountable.

Hence, I was dismayed to read the remarks of some the apparent supporters of Michael Vagnini, who, in the comments section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, denounced Judge Wagner’s 26 month prison sentence of the former Milwaukee police officer, convicted of conducting unauthorized strip searches, as too harsh.

Considering the gravity of the offenses, which under Wisconsin law might be construed as sexual penetration, the crew at SF believes the judge’s sentence of Vagnini was measured and reasonable.

Quite frankly, it is difficult to excuse an officer’s abuse of authority when the Milwaukee Police Department has a specific policy regarding strip searches.  No doubt, Vagnini believed he was on a mission to beat back crime, but he attended the police academy, was knowledgeable of Wisconsin state statutes, and was keenly aware that he was violating the law.

Over three decades ago when I was new officer, a veteran cop told me not to get too concerned when a drug dealer beats a rap or somehow managed to successfully secret his product from the police.  After all, he reasoned, D.O.P.E. is an acronym for death or prison eventually.  If the law doesn’t catch up with drug dealers, often times their rivals, suppliers, or customers will.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Catholic Cops: Enough is Enough, Radical Changes are Needed to Make the Church Relevant

The ranks of the Milwaukee Police Department and other law enforcement agencies throughout southeastern Wisconsin are well represented by officers of the Roman Catholic faith.  I am one of them. Today, the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee (southeastern Wisconsin) released thousands of pages of documents related to the priest abuse scandal.

“They include some of the archdiocese’s most prolific sex abusers,” writes Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Annysa Johnson.  “Among them: the late Father Lawrence Murphy, who is believed to have molested as many as 200 deaf boys, most during his decades at St. John School for the Deaf in St. Francis; and Sigfried Widera, who was facing 42 counts of child abuse in Wisconsin and California when he jumped to his death from a Mexico hotel room in 2003 as authorities closed in.”

Granted, only about one-percent of all priests were, in some way, implicated in these abominable, pedophilic attacks. However, it is the Roman Catholic Church’s cover-up of these abuses that is, in all actuality, almost as repugnant as the horrific offenses.

In the mid-1930s, law enforcement agencies recognized that, to remain viable and respected, they would need to police themselves.  As a result, virtually every American police department has an internal affairs and/or professional standards unit that investigates allegations of misconduct.  However, the Catholic Church’s version of IAD is akin to a criminal fence looking into the activities of his supplier; whereby, the fence tells the thief it is time to move from Milwaukee to, say, California, before the police catch a whiff one what transpired, while knowing that the fence will steal yet again.

“Society’s general attitude toward perpetrators of sexual abuse moved in a trajectory from understanding abuse as sin with the possibility of forgiveness, to psychological flaw with hope of treatment, to deeper issues of addiction and finally to criminal activity,” wrote retired Wisconsin Bishop Richard Slkba.

‘Lame’ is the word many Catholics use to describe Sklba’s response.  In their heart-of-hearts, even young teenagers are fully aware that sexual abuse, whether the victim is an adult or a juvenile, is not only unacceptable, it is criminal.  Why a well-educated and politically savvy Catholic bishop, and the hierarchy of the Church would believe otherwise, suggests, in my opinion, that, at least in the United States, the Roman Catholic clergy sees itself as a brotherhood rather than a calling.

In all sincerity, Roman Catholic law enforcement officers, many of whom attend Mass on Sunday with their families in tow, have, quite frankly, had enough of the sex crimes committed by members of the clergy and the excuses from the leadership of an archdiocese that, as a moral entity, should simply know better.  Being a member of a Church that, at least in a de facto sense, winks-and-nods at priests and/or seminarians who do not fully support the ENTIRE moral mission of the Holy Father, makes me, and other cops wonder why we should give even one thin dime to an institution that, as documents suggest, has diverted funds from other Catholic missions in order to pay sexual predator priests to simply ‘go away.’

Speaking for a host of Catholic law enforcement officers, if the Church of St. Peter truly wishes to remain relevant in the 21st Century and beyond, reforms are desperately needed.  Virtually to a person, Catholic law enforcement officers believe, first and foremost, that priests should be permitted to marry.  Some, including myself, believe the time has come for the Church to recognize female priests as well.  These two simple reforms will result in the break-up of the strange old boys network—no pun intended—that has brought the Roman Catholic Church to the brink of moral irrelevancy.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Does Police Chief Flynn Believe the Constitution is Irrelevant?

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, when members of the local police proudly served their communities free from the yoke of federal law enforcement.  In the 1980s and 1990s, cops on the beat and detectives hunting down suspects kept a distance from the likes of the FBI—an agency that routinely looked down their noses at ‘the locals.’

When watching a television drama, such as Criminal Minds, I sometimes chuckle when the FBI’s 20 and 30 something agents make veteran police investigators look like second-rate cops.  When it comes to clearing a serious crime, I would much rather have a core group of Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) homicide detectives working with me than a slew of FBI agents, many of whom rarely work the streets, and then rib the handful of their colleagues that actually do.

After 9/11, however, the federal government realized that its agents desperately needed the intelligence gleaned by ‘the locals,’ whose officers pounded the pavement 24 x 7.  In order to bring state and local law enforcement agencies into a national fold, Uncle Sam dangled billions of dollars in grants in front of the noses of mayors and police chiefs.  This “free money,” as it is insanely described by the likes of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, became a powerful drug that quickly turned some police chiefs into addicts constantly on a lookout for their next fix—another federal government handout.

In the interim, having taken the federal government’s money, local police agencies now served two masters—the residents of their communities and the US Justice Department.   Milwaukee’s chief of police, Ed Flynn, took the fed’s bait money and established an “intelligence fusion center,” an operation staffed by federal agents, members of the National Guard, state agents, and several members of the MPD, even though, in many instances, those who summon the services of the Milwaukee police often wait hours for an officer to respond.

Moreover, as federal, state and local law enforcement morphed together, the decentralization of authority—a concept our nation’s founders saw as a buffer against tyranny—has ebbed to the point where leaders of police agencies in New York City and Milwaukee apparently no longer believe that the Fourth Amendment is relevant and sacrosanct.

On June 11, Wall Street Journal reporter Heather Mac Donald profiled the case of Floyd v. New York, a federal lawsuit brought to “specifically target” the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

A “stop,” based on a “reasonable suspicion” of wrong doing, and a “frisk,” premised on an officer’s “reasonable and articulable” belief that a person might be armed, was a practice upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Terry v. Ohio.

In New York City, however, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk policy omits the “reasonable and articulable” part of the equation.  In plan speak; the NYPD’s policy thumbs its nose at the Fourth Amendment and the judicial precedents established by our nation’s highest court, which, prior to the Patriot Act, was respected as the rule of law.

In her article, Ms. Mac Donald appears to find a prominent supporter of Ray Kelly’s frisk without cause policy on the seventh floor of Milwaukee Police Administration Building.

“Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has said that it will be a “tragedy” if his city is forced to curtail the pedestrian stops that have reduced crime in inner-city neighborhoods,” wrote Ms. Mac Donald.

“That’s what worries us about what’s happening in New York,” Chief Flynn told the Los Angeles Times in April. “It would just be a shame if some people decided to put us back in our cars just answering calls and ceding the streets to thugs.”

Asking the police to follow the guidelines put in place by the U.S. Supreme Court that frisks should be based on an officer’s “reasonable and articulable suspicion” that an individual is armed hardly equates to shuttering officers inside their squad cars.  Chief Flynn, as Commissioner Kelly, took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Ray Kelly’s willingness to trample on the Fourth Amendment, and Chief Ed Flynn’s apparent support for such a policy, illustrates why public officials should be viewed skeptically when they ask the public to trust them with the use of drones, cellular telephone monitoring technologies, and widespread government data collection.

This new American age of Machiavellian-type governance; whereby, the “ends justifies the means,” might work well for autocrats in China, Russia, and Cuba, but should have no relevance in the United States, where our nation—once the home of the free—has, in a historical blink of an eye, mutated into the land of the watched.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Majority of Americans: Surrender No More Rights for Alleged Security

Within the past three months, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent millions of dollars of his personal wealth to produce slick ads in support of gun control.  Just last week, America’s nanny-state mayor lectured his subjects by proclaiming that “…our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution I think have to change,” due to potential terror threats.

A new Fox News poll, however, illustrates that for the first time since 9/11, more Americans say that they are unwilling to concede additional freedoms to off-set the risks of terrorist attacks.

Reading between the lines, the reason for this shift in public opinion seems clear: Americans realize that, in the name of fighting terrorism, the federal government has hijacked the Bill of Rights to monitor them instead of focusing its efforts on Islamic Jihadists.

“Think about it,” I noted in an April 20 post, “how do the surveillance cameras mounted atop traffic control signals on 124th and Burleigh prevent acts of terrorism? Wasting taxpayer dollars to conduct surveillance of Americans diverts resources from the real problem: extremist groups and foreign nationals overstaying student visas that pose a real threat to this nation’s security.”

After all, the Boston Marathon bombings spotlighted the federal government’s intelligence failures. During one news report, an FBI source, a journalist explained, said that the bureau gets thousands of tips every year, similar to the ones provided by the Russian government, but lacks the resources to thoroughly investigate each one.


According to creditable sources, the U.S. government has spent $500 billion creating a nationwide surveillance state. Yet, we are told, this unprecedented amount of money, which flowed far too freely from our treasury, is not nearly enough?  To put things in perspective, this amount of cash is so large that could underwrite the budgets of the City of Milwaukee for the next 333 years.

Surely, $500 billion is an excessive amount, some of which was needlessly wasted placing surveillance cameras at intersections in locales like Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a city of 60,000.  Unless the bureaucrats at the Department of Homeland Security—the agency that disperses federal grant money to states and municipalities—believe that, when selecting potential targets, blindfolded Jihadists simply throw darts at a map of the United States, spending so much as a dime to place surveillance infrastructure in a city like Eau Claire does absolutely nothing to protect our nation from acts of terror.

Moreover, the federal government’s failures in Boston exposed the duplicity of politicians, as the current mayor of Chicago once said, intent on using a good crisis to funnel gobs of money to large corporations—members of the post 9/11 security-industrial complex—that either directly, or through their K Street lobbyists, write large checks to the campaigns of their supporters on Capitol Hill.

Telling the American people that the billions of dollars this country has literally thrown at 1,900 private sector companies, as well as the 800,000 people that take part in counter terrorism activities, is not enough is a scandal in itself. Clearly, some people have no shame.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013