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Former Milwaukee police captain James MacGillis voted to be new Wauwatosa police chief

James Macgillis
Posted at 4:50 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 23:38:37-04

WAUWATOSA — Former Milwaukee Police Captain James MacGillis will be the next Wauwatosa Police Chief. The city’s Police and Fire Commission voted unanimously to hire MacGillis at their special meeting Thursday.

MacGillis "talked about the importance of bridging policing and community relations while balancing public safety interests," said commission member Danielle Basil Long.

Throughout the process, members of the community were able to weigh in on the candidates.

“We provided a very transparent and cohesive way to be involved throughout each step of the process,” said commissioner Greg Leahy.

During the meeting held online, MacGillis said that “I’m humbled and proud to be selected to lead the Wauwatosa Police Department as its next chief of police."

"I’m looking forward to working with internal and community stakeholders to keep Wauwatosa a safe and vibrant community for all people," said MacGillis.

John Larry, the former Chairman of the Wauwatosa Government Affairs ad-hoc committee, has been the voice of many in the community. He has been advocating for change within the department and says he is not hopeful with the choice.

“Wauwatosa has not had the best history of how they engage and treat Black and Brown people. What has to change is a total rebuilding, reconstructing of the police department,” said Larry.

MacGillis beat out two other finalists for the job, both with ties to the Milwaukee Police Department as well: current Acting Police Chief Jeffrey Norman and Captain David Salazar.

MacGillis will be sworn in and take on the role of Police Chief on July 26.

"The Police and Fire Commission is confident that James MacGillis will do an outstanding job as Police Chief, working with Police department members, City officials, and community members to find innovative solutions to problems and improving police services for the City of Wauwatosa. I want to thank the other volunteer Commission members and members of the community who participated in several steps of the hiring process," said Dominic Leone, President of the Police and Fire Commission, in a statement Thursday.

"I am humbled and proud to have been selected to lead the Wauwatosa Police Department. There are several opportunities to build police and community trust while keeping all citizens safe at the forefront of what we do as a profession and agency. I look forward to embracing both challenges and opportunities and working with internal and community stakeholders to keep Wauwatosa a safe and vibrant community for all," said MacGillis in the statement.

The Wauwatosa Peace Officers Association issued the following statement:

"The WPOA welcomes James MacGillis as the new Chief of Police. We look forward to working with him in the future on the issues and challenges facing our community and police department. Chief MacGillis has an impressive background and strong ties to the City of Wauwatosa. We are confident in his ability to lead this department and are eager to continue to serve and protect the citizens of Wauwatosa under his command. We commend the members of the PFC for their diligent search and selection process that produced three very qualified candidates."

Nine members of the public participated in the process to find a new chief, including providing feedback to the PFC. These people were Wauwatosa residents, mental health professionals, public safety professionals, and education professionals.

Read MacGillis' fill bio on the city's website here.

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