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Outgoing Fire and Police Commissioner answers questions on why she’s stepping down

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 07:35:33-04

MILWAUKEE — MILWAUKEE - It's been less than a year and the executive director of the Fire and Police Commission says it is time to go. Griselda Aldrete said the decision did not come easy.

"Its almost like you are serving three masters if you will," said Aldrete.

Aldrete is very candid when describing the balancing act she attempted to maintain as the executive director of Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission.

"The community, the Common Council, the mayor and I want people to realize we need to talk to each other not at each other and there needs to be a real commitment to change," said Aldrete.

Aldrete admits she came into this position ready to make serious change.

"I was so excited for it because my background is in policing, I have a master's in criminal justice, and in policing you study this stuff but it's different to see it in action. Split-second decision that can change the course of history, people's lives on both side," said Aldrete.

But 11 months in, Aldrete has had enough. A day before she was expected to be reappointed by the Common Council she decided to step down.

"When you know you are not going to have that support and 11 months of push back, I think it was important for me as a professional a woman, a woman of color to say this is not going to be the environment where your talents will be best utilized. It's better to walk away."

During her short time as executive director, she faced criticism on how she ran the office and her engagement with the fire and police chief.

"Described it as being chummy, I don't think oversight should be adversarial collaborative treat each other with respect," said Aldrete.

Six weeks ago the Fire and Police Commission took over the internal disciplinary investigation of officer Michael Mattioli who is facing homicide charges for an off duty altercation.

"This time, we are the deciding body. It's the first time, which comes with a lot of pressure," said Aldrete.

When pressured on a timeline for a decision in the outcome of the case, Aldrete said it would be in days not months that the public could expect the commission to address Mattioli's fate with the department.

Before leaving her 7th-floor office in city hall, Aldrete says there are few things she would like to complete in response to the ACLU settlement and standard operating procedures for police officers.

"I would like to get the SOP on use of force amended and changed before I leave," said Aldrete.

And finally, when it came to advice for her successor, Aldrete did not hold back.

"Be patient, be resilience, but never sacrifice your integrity.for the sake of the job," said Aldrete.

One-on-one with Fire and Police Commissioner Griselda Aldrete

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