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New MPD Acting Chief named as permanent job remains unfilled

Posted at 8:23 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 23:28:08-05

MILWAUKEE — There’s another transition at the top of the Milwaukee Police Department as the permanent chief job remains in limbo.

Assistant Chief Jeffrey Norman was promoted by the Fire and Police Commission Thursday night to acting chief. He will replace current Acting Chief Michael Brunson Sr., who is set to retire next week.

Norman will lead the department temporarily until the FPC makes a decision between the two permanent chief finalists. But now there’s a delay in appointing a new FPC commissioner who could offer the decisive vote, and one of the finalists for police chief is expected to find out soon whether he gets another chief job.

Norman is a 24-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department and a former finalist to become the city’s next permanent police chief.

“I am honored to serve in this role,” Norman said.

Norman officially learned Thursday night that he will serve as the city’s top cop until the FPC decides between FBI special agent and Milwaukee native Hoyt Mahaley and Dallas Police Major Malik Aziz.

“I will serve as best as possible in regards to the duties and responsibilities thereof,” Norman said.

This comes after back-to-back tie votes from the FPC, failing to choose a permanent Milwaukee chief. The FPC set its next vote for Jan. 7 in the hopes that a seventh commissioner would be appointed before then to potentially offer a tie-breaking vote. But earlier this week, the Common Council couldn’t take a vote on Mayor Tom Barrett’s nominee Amanda Avalos because the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office wasn't assigned to conduct her background season.

“The sheriff’s office has informed us that it will take about two weeks at the very least in order to complete the background check on Ms. Avalos,” said Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.

Johnson said it could take until mid-January before council members are able to take a vote on Avalos’ appointment. However, as Johnson learned Thursday, that issue could be moot. Major Aziz is also a finalist for Dallas Police Chief and Dallas’ city manager is expected to make a decision by the end of December. Aziz told TMJ4 News that he’ll take whichever offer comes first.

“It could be that Amanda serves as the tie-breaking vote, but it could be that there’s only one candidate remaining by the time she’s even seated on the Fire and Police Commission,” Johnson said.

Acting Chief Brunson’s last day before retiring is Dec. 22. Norman said Acting Chief Brunson recommended that he should take over his role.

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