MILWAUKEE — A community conversation is underway to change how the Milwaukee Police Department operates and it's happening through the Fire and Police Commission’s Collaborating for Change special meeting.
The FPC wants to change the police standard operating procedure, basically the rule book for how officers operate. In order to do that, they are asking the community for their help.
“This is the time, this is the day, this is the hour. That things are really going to change not only for Milwaukee but this country,” said Ann Wilson, Fire and Police Commissioner.
Milwaukee’s FPC is looking at changing what community policing looks like. This comes as cities across the country call for police reform following the death of George Floyd and national protests breakout.
Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission invited in members from the Office of Violence Prevention, the Collaborative Community Committee, Milwaukee LGBT community center, and the police to talk about what reforms could be put into place.
“The police do not have to get involved with everything,” said Inspector Alex Ramirez of the Milwaukee Police Department. “We’re hoping we can work with everyone and that police aren’t seen as the enemy. And we are just a partner and part of the public.”
“There is a pool of ability within the community that is also necessary in elevating public safety so there is not this strong reliance on law enforcement only,” said Jamaal Smith from Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention.
Community members say Milwaukee is ahead of other cities when it comes to investigating police reforms. Since the police shooting death of Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park, there has been a Department of Justice draft report, the Blueprint for Peace plan, and the Community Collaborative Committee, all of which recommended dozens of changes. But implementing them is a work in progress.
“There is so much work that has been happening within this city and now it’s time to shed light on that work and get the support behind it,” said Smith.
This is just the first of many conversations the special group will be having around police reform in Milwaukee.