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Milwaukee's new acting police chief takes over during a violent year

Posted at 5:23 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 21:16:24-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee is now on its third police chief just the past five months. Jeff Norman is the Acting Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department. The turnover at the top comes during an extremely violent year

Milwaukee is dealing with a record number of murders. The homicide totals in 2020 have far surpassed any previous year.

“We have an uptick in violence in regards to violence in 2020. 2020 is just an unprecedented year,” said Norman.

Last year, there were 97 homicides in Milwaukee. So far in 2020, there have been 191 homicides. That is an increase of 97-percent.

But Milwaukee is not alone in the rising homicide rates. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, preliminary data shows homicides are up in many major American cities.

  • Milwaukees -- 97% increase
  • Minneapolis -- 85% increase
  • Louisville Metro -- 79% increase
  • Portland, OR -- 68% increase
  • Fort Worth -- 66% increase
  • Memphis -- 58% increase

“In regards to what the community can do, the Milwaukee Police Department operates off of information. Working with our community, understanding what the needs are, understanding where we need to be responsive,” said Norman.

milwaukee police

That is not the only violence the new chief is dealing with. Milwaukee is also seeing an increase in reckless driving.

MPD says there have been 14,045 speed related reckless driving tickets given this year since November 30th. A 12 percent increase from the year before with only 12,495 citations.

On top of that, there have been 75 traffic deaths this year through December 15th, compared to 46 from the same time last year.

Norman is big on community policing and community collaborations. It’s part of what he said he could bring to the police department when he was named one of the six finalist for the Milwaukee Police Chief job. He did not make it to the top three finalists. But he says that is not going to stop him from trying to make a difference in the city.

“I’m just humbled and excited to be able to show what I can do. And make sure that I maintain the focus in regards to what needs to be taken care of and also to be responsive to the organization to its leaders,” said Norman.

The Fire and Police Commission have been stuck in a deadlock on deciding on a permanent chief.

The six commissioners equally divided their votes between the top two candidates, Malik Aziz and Hoyt Mahaley. Norman will be the acting chief until a replacement is named.

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