Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he expects to speak soon with the three candidates to become the city’s next police chief.
He said he is looking for someone who understands the challenges of the job and the need to work with the administration.
“That is clearly something that is very, very important to me individually if for no other reason than we’re the ones that put together the budget for the Police Department,” Barrett said during a virtual Milwaukee Press Club event Wednesday. “So, you’re going to have to have a police chief who understands the fiscal pressures we’re under, and that’s even before you have the philosophical conversations about what police should or shouldn’t be doing.”
He said he is also looking for someone who recognizes Milwaukee’s diversity and the importance of gaining the trust of both the community and the department’s officers.
“I think the perfect chief would be respected by both the community and the officers, so I’m looking for the perfect chief,” he said.
Last week, the city’s Fire and Police Commission named three finalists for the job: Malik Aziz, a major with the Dallas Police Department; Chris Davis, a deputy chief with the Portland Police Department in Oregon; and Hoyt Mahaley, a supervisory special agent with the FBI.
They will participate in community forums, and the commission expects to select the next chief in December.
Whoever is selected will replace Acting Police Chief Michael Brunson, who was promoted from assistant chief when the FPC demoted Alfonso Morales from chief back to his previous rank of captain.
Morales, who subsequently retired, has filed a lawsuit against the city.
In an interview on WTMJ 620, he indicated he would consider taking the chief job back if offered. He also said he didn’t think Barrett “ever really cared for me. I was never his guy and I was never going to be his guy.”
On Wednesday, Barrett criticized the Fire and Police Commission, saying he was “not happy” with a lot of what has happened there.
“I have been concerned because I think that there should be a level of professionalism as how people treat each other,” he said. “That has been concerning to me.”
Earlier this month, a hastily arranged Friday evening meeting of the commission quickly devolved, and nothing was accomplished in the 24 minutes it lasted. The meeting to possibly change the selection process for the city’s next police chief was arranged without the input of Chairman Nelson Soler or Vice Chair Angela McKenzie.