ST. FRANCIS — FBI Milwaukee has a new Special Agent in Charge.
Michael Hensle took over in February after the previous special agent in charge, Robert Hughes, retired.
Hensle has been with the FBI for close to 20 years. The job has taken him across the country, with stops in New York state, Salt Lake City and FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
He comes to Milwaukee at a time when the city is seeing record levels of violence.
"Milwaukee has per capita (has) one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, surpassing much larger cities," Hensle said.
Milwaukee police data shows there have been 71 homicides so far in 2022, up from 51 at this time in 2021. There have been more than 250 non-fatal shootings.
Web extra: One-on-one with Michael Hensle
Hensle stressed the FBI's commitment to community partnerships. He said one of his goals is to meet with key stakeholders once per quarter.
"I've already hosted a community round-table with a number of our partners here in the city, and it was great because even they brought up it has to be a group effort," Hensle said. "It's law enforcement, it's religious organizations, it's community organizations that can provide resources and opportunities."
Hensle said one of the ways the FBI helps local police is through task forces. He said there are more than 70 task force officers in the FBI Milwaukee office. Some work with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), and others work with different law enforcement groups throughout the state. Some focus on counter-terrorism, cyber crime and more.
Last year, MPD revamped an office space within its headquarters for the Violent Crime Task Force.
"Sometimes it's providing funding like that resource of having a task force environment within their own space so it's easier to work. We can provide them intelligence resources," Hensle said. "So, not just our FBI agents with guns and badges, but provide the whole intelligence side of our house."
"They're our intelligence professionals, and they mine the data, mine the human source information, to understand threat trends, to understand the things impacting us here locally," Hensle said. "And that's the type of information we bring to our local partners."
Henlse says his priorities for FBI Milwaukee include public corruption and civil rights.
"We just had an investigation where it resulted in an arrest of a hate crime, all the way to color of law investigation when we're working with our local law enforcement partners and looking at their conduct and how they conduct themselves with the public," Hensle said.
If you want to report a tip or crime to FBI Milwaukee, call (414) 276-4684