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Assistant Milwaukee Police Chief James Harpole on stepping away after 33 years

Posted at 8:08 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 11:34:54-05

MILWAUKEE- One of the city's top law enforcement officers is stepping away in the wake of Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn's retirement announcement

It's fair to say Assistant Chief James Harpole grew up in the Milwaukee Police Department. From a police aide to now the second highest ranking officer on the force.

Over the last 33 years, Harpole has lead with his passion for community engagement and his desire to serve and protect.

He is not shy to admit growing up poor, in a home of domestic violence later helped him in his policing career.

"My early years as a child growing up in that environment I believe has made me to be a better police officer because I had empathy for people in those situations," Harpole said.

Last week Harpole was vying to be the city's interim police chief then suddenly decided to retire.

"I did not want to be a hindrance... I was getting the sense the feeling not just from the Fire and Police commission but a driving concern that I was too connected with Chief Flynn and the current administration and if I were selected there would be no new vision," he said. 

Harpole has some advice for the yet to be named interim top cop.

"There are a lot of things that we have done to improve accountability and the next chief needs to make sure not to take steps back from that .... is what the community demands from the police," he said. 

And as he prepares to say goodbye, he looks to the future with no regrets.

"My wife already has a driving schedule laid out for me my 13-year-old daughter for school," he said. 

The assistant chief's final day is Feb. 16 the same day as Flynn.