Posts tagged “Mayor Tom Barrett

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

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

Don’t Get Flynn-Flammed by the Chief-of-Police

While one can argue that advocating on behalf of a law enforcement agency’s budget is well within the purview of the duties of the chief-of-police, in an interview with a reporter from the local newspaper, the thinly veiled political attack on the state legislature by Milwaukee’s chief-of-police—done under the guise of good government—illustrates that Chief Ed Flynn is all too willing to pony-up to the bar of the public trough in search of yet another free drink.

As the impetus for his tirade, Flynn cites the expiration of a $445,000 grant for SharpShooter—a computer program that can pinpoint an area where gunshots emanate, which has been funded by the state legislature.  Often times these awards, such as the COPS grants funded by the Clinton administration in the 1990s, cover the first three-to-five years of a program, at which time the agency receiving the grant money is expected to assume the cost.

The $445,000 needed to fund SharpShooter could easily be achieved by Flynn streamlining his already top heavy command staff.  The Milwaukee Police Department has three assistant chiefs-of-police.  Why a city the size of Milwaukee has more than one defies logic.  Two of these positions could easily be eliminated by placing just one assistant police chief in charge of the north, central, and south commands, since all three are currently overseen by an inspector of police. By eliminating the two assistant police chiefs’ positions, the Milwaukee Police Department could save nearly $300,000 in wages and benefits.

Flynn also ripped the legislature’s decision to allow one of the state’s regional crime labs, currently located in cramped quarters near Lapham Blvd., to search for a new location, possibly outside Milwaukee.  Having worked closely with technicians from the crime lab in the past, the location of this building really has little to do with efficiencies within the Milwaukee Police Department.  For the sake of argument, if the Wisconsin Regional Crime Lab is moved from its current location to the Milwaukee County Grounds in Wauwatosa—near an area where the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee is constructing research facilities—how would this hamper the crime fighting efforts of Milwaukee police? Clearly, making the location of the crime lab an issue came directly from a Barrett administration talking points memo.

Yet even a low information voter could see through Flynn’s water carrying exercise as the chief feigns outrage over the elimination of the residency requirement for City of Milwaukee employees.  Of course, the reporter fails to ask the police chief how this change would affect the overall operation of his department. Why? Because this rule change, in the long run, might actually benefit the Milwaukee Police Department, as solid, young potential recruits, unwilling to raise their families in the confines of the city, might now be encouraged to apply.

The real hypocrisy, in my opinion, comes not from the state legislature, but from the chief-of-police himself. If Flynn believes so strongly in Milwaukee, why hasn’t he put his money where his mouth is and purchased a home in the city?  Instead, the chief has chosen to rent a condo in the trendy Third Ward. Moreover, Flynn’s family, specifically his wife, does not reside in Milwaukee.  Surely, once the chief’s contract expires or he chooses to retire, his lease on his Third Ward condo will lapse and, once his payroll checks from the City of Milwaukee stop coming, he will move out of state, probably back to the east coast or Florida, with his pension checks in tow.  As such, he will not feel the pain of any of the repercussions of the public policy positions advocated by his de facto boss, Mayor Barrett, like the $80 million 2.5 mile trolley.


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.

The Sock Puppet Cometh

Since his ascension to Milwaukee County Sheriff via appointment by then Gov. Scott McCallum, David Clarke, Jr. has never been afraid of controversy. 

The leaders of the sheriff’s rank-and-file union bristle at Clarke’s no-holds barred management style. Critics also claim that the sheriff is by no means a consensus builder. Yet one thing is certain: very few Milwaukee County residents can claim that they are unsure where the sheriff stands on issues of public safety.

In addition, it is no secret that Sheriff Clarke and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett mix like oil-and-water. The personalities of these two leaders, their political philosophies, and their management styles are the antithesis of each other.

Clarke, an African-American, is a law-and-order conservative; Barrett, who is white, is a touchy-feely liberal.

The mayor believes in leading by consensus, while the sheriff’s inspiration is Rudy Giuliani’s take the bull-by-the-horns style of leadership.

Barrett’s critics claim he is virtually invisible when it comes to critical issues facing the city. One of the mayor’s critics, WTMJ talk-radio host Charlie Sykes, notes that Barrett’s mug might appear on the side of a milk carton—a reference to a missing person. Clarke, on the other hand, is hands-on, very passionate about his public policy positions, and flamboyant in public. He is, on occasion, observed in cowboy garb while visiting Mitchell International Airport.

In the middle is Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, a relative newcomer to executive office. A trust fund baby, Abele lacks any meaningful administrative experience, which, his critics argue, makes him little more than a sock puppet for Mayor Barrett.

One need not scratch too far below the surface to unravel the Barrett-Abele conspiracy to defund the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office.

By state law, Sheriff Clarke is a constitutionally elected official.  In other words, unless the Barrett-Abele axis can defeat Clarke in an election, there’s not much Milwaukee’s liberal leaders can do to run the sheriff out of town. Instead, the county executive and the mayor have taken a different approach: minimizing Clarke’s ability to lead by gutting the sheriff’s budget.

Last year, Abele’s county budget resulted in significant layoffs of Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies, some of whom had nearly a decade on the job. This stab at Clarke reduced jail staffing to dangerous levels while using dedicated law enforcement professionals as pawns in a political power play.

The latest Machiavellian maneuver from the Barrett-Abele axis guts the sheriff’s budget by another $3.3 million by transferring patrols of the county parks from the sheriff’s department to local municipalities. The political scam, though, is in the details. Over $1.7 million—about 93 percent of the money dispatched to municipal law enforcement agencies to patrol the county parks in their jurisdictions—goes to one agency: the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). This even though the vast majority of county park real estate is outside the Milwaukee city limits. Suburban law enforcement agencies would each receive, on average, about $7,000 apiece.

Talk to law enforcement veterans from Milwaukee County and, almost to a person, they chuckle when asked about MPD becoming the county park police.

“Besides county parks, there are also city parks in Milwaukee, where Milwaukee police are currently assigned,” said one former MPD veteran. “What kind of patrols do these city parks receive? No more attention than any other block in any squad area. As such, one can see where this is going. Barrett and Flynn will take the $1.7 million paid by Milwaukee County taxpayers, including those living in the suburbs, to off-set the MPD’s budget, while doing little, besides patrolling the Lake Park and Bradford Beach areas.”

Suburban Milwaukee County taxpayers should voice outrage by Chris Abele’s sloppy wet kiss to Tom Barrett’s city budget. This deal is so bad that the term ‘sock puppet’ is too flattering a reference to Abele, although the other euphemisms offered by some former coppers to address the specifics of the Barrett-Abele political relationship are not fit for print.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit


© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


Justifying the unjustifiable: the Cancer Killing Wisconsin Politics

Over the course of the past week, I received a communication from an individual—a person I will not name—who is associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office.  Based on some terse, yet pointed comments that I have made, this individual wanted to know why I wasn’t standing with assistant district attorneys by supporting the recall of Gov. Scott Walker.  Apparently in possession of the Barrett campaign’s talking-points memo regarding the mayor’s failure to obtain the endorsement of the labor union representing his city’s rank-and-file police officers, this person said “residency” was the only reason that the Milwaukee Police Association has endorsed Gov. Walker in the recall election.

To set the record straight, neither I nor anyone else affiliated with SF have publicly endorsed any candidate in the recall election.  In the past, I have taken the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPA) to task when their members identified themselves as public officials, and then cited their agencies, while making partisan political statements. I have also criticized the WPPA’s executive director, Jim Palmer, for signing a letter threatening a Milwaukee business leader with a boycott unless this citizen renounced his First Amendment right to support Gov. Walker.

Moreover, anyone who has taken a few minutes to view the contents of this Web site would quickly realize that the Spingola Files has a noticeable libertarian bent when it comes to matters of government surveillance—hardly an issue championed by neo-cons and right-wingers.

Back to the comments of the person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office.

Since I retired from the Milwaukee Police Department and now reside outside Milwaukee County, residency is not an issue that affects me. 

I do throw an occasional dart, however, when hypocrisy raises its ugly head.

So why is it then that Darlene Wink, a former low-level aide to then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, was charged and convicted for campaigning on government time while using a taxpayer funded computer network, while the anti-Walker folks (particularly this person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office) downplay e-mails sent by Kris Barrett, Mayor Barrett’s wife, advocating political action during her tenure as a teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools?

This type of attitude—that the misconduct of a particular individual should be marginalized as long as this person is ‘on our side’ politically—is the cancer that is killing Wisconsin politics.

After all, there are a plethora of reasons why rank-and-file Milwaukee police officers would vote against Barrett and the Democrats. 

Just a few years ago, former Governor Jim Doyle and his Democrat Party cohorts in the state legislature—with the support of Mayor Barrett—changed state law, which now gives the chief-of-police in the city of Milwaukee the authority to subjectively and arbitrary fire an officer for a rule violation, while denying this officer his or her pay absent a due process hearing with the Fire and Police Commission.   In every other jurisdiction in the state of Wisconsin, a police chief can only recommend termination, at which time an officer continues to be paid until the charges against him or her are substantiated by an oversight board.  

Furthermore, Doyle and Democrats in the legislature, specifically those from the Milwaukee delegation that should know better, granted early release to thousands of felons from Wisconsin prisons.  Almost half of these felons reside in one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties—Milwaukee, which means, unlike the vast majority of the rank-and-file officers represented by the WPPA, Milwaukee police officers bore the brunt of the Democrats so-called criminal justice reforms.

And, of course, I related these points to the person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office, who basically, in not so many words, accused me of being a sellout for simply pointing out the hypocrisy of those poo-pooing Kris Barrett’s taxpayer funded use of a computer network for political action purposes, but have yet to receive a reply.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012