MILWAUKEE — While the Milwaukee Police Department only has one internal candidate, there’s another finalist with strong ties to the city.
“I grew up in Milwaukee,” Special Agent Hoyt Mahaley said. “I attended Rufus King High School. I played basketball with a state championship team and actually just love the city.”
Mahaley’s team won the championship in 1984. Now, 36 years later, he wants to champion change within the City of Milwaukee’s Police Department.
“I see that they’re going through a lot of hardship right now,” Mahaley said. Honestly, I’m at a point in my career that I want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
Mahaley is one of six candidates The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission announced as finalists for the position of Milwaukee Police Chief. TMJ4 News will be interviewing each candidate to see why they believe they are the best fit for the position.
While each person will answer different questions, all six will answer three core questions facing the community of Milwaukee:
- What examples are you proud of in your career as it relates to working with communities of color?
- What have you done to promote racial and social justice issues within those communities?
- Why do you want to be the Chief of Police in the City of Milwaukee?
It’s easy to see why Mahaley wants to come to Milwaukee. He spent the first 30 years of his life here, including starting his career with the Milwaukee Police Department between 1992 and 1997.
Even though he’s been with the Federal Bureau of Investigations since then, he still has many connections in Cream City.
“I have a ton of friends and a ton of people I know there,” Mahaley said. “My network is solid there. I do think that’s all going to play a part in making some changes that are necessary to see the city prosper and reach its potential. I care about the city but, more importantly, I care about the school system, the education system, the police department. I care about the fire department. I care about the whole entire city. If you’re passionate about something, you tend to do a better job and working out with those issues.”
For the last two decades, Mahaley has lived in Washington D.C. and Atlanta, working for the FBI. He was part of a task force responsible for charging former NFL running back, Jamal Lewis with cocaine charges in 2004.
He says experiences like that will only help with tackling the high crime rates facing the City of Milwaukee right now. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner says they are on pace to set a record high for homicides.
“The number one thing is having the ability to get resources to address issues,” Mahaley said. “We have to think outside the box. I think I bring that to the table because of all the experiences I had in federal government. I think that’s key to the success of the City of Milwaukee.”
In order to achieve that success, Mahaley knows the importance of cultivating relationships in the city, specifically rebuilding relationships between communities of color and police. Working for the last two decades in cities like Washington D.C. and Atlanta, he was surrounded by very diverse communities with a large African American population, 46 percent and 51.8 percent respectively.
Even on a federal level, Mahaley made sure to build bonds with Atlanta’s church and business leaders to address civil unrest issues. He also spent time in some of the city’s most troubled schools.
During those meetings, he didn’t focus as much on just sharing the consequences of breaking the law, but rather empowering the students.
“It’s more about kids seeing their talents and their gifts and being able to find out what that is and pursue after and make something of their lives,” Mahaley said. “We’re trying to change hearts and minds as it relates to law enforcement.”
They also show the students what it’s like to be officers, giving them an opportunity to understand what it’s like during traffic stops and other potentially high-stress scenarios.
With relationships between communities of color and police strained at times, Mahaley views social and racial justice issues as a top priority.
“I think community-oriented policing is important,” Mahaley said. “That community needs to see you outside of the uniform. They need to see the person you are.”
He hopes to get other community members involved to help keep situations under control.
“Police can’t do everything,” Mahaley said. “It’s impossible for them to do everything. There are many other things that police can do and they will do them and in a professional manner. But we also need social workers, teachers, other people participating in making change in this city. I’ve seen it done in many other places and I want to see it done in Milwaukee. That’s why I want to come back and be part of this solution.”
All of these efforts from Mahaley share one thing in common; making the community he serves better. Whether he’s cracking down on crime or being a role model to younger folks, he does it to create positive change.
“Are you making the impact?” Mahaley said. “It’s the key. Are you taking drugs out of the community? Are you working on improving the children and life in that community? Are you mentoring these kids? It’s one thing to arrest a bunch of people, but it’s another thing to go in these communities and make a change. That’s what I’ve done.”
The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission expects to announce the top three candidates by Thursday, Oct. 15 and believe they are still on track to select the next Milwaukee Police Chief by Dec. 3.
A special session is scheduled Friday night, Oct. 9 at 6:40 p.m. for the Fire and Police Commission to discuss logistics on the timeline for interviews. The meeting will not be aired on the public access channel, but can be viewed on Livestream 2 on the city's website.
Once the top three are announced, the commission will work on setting up virtual community meetings to give the public an opportunity to ask questions.
To learn more about the other candidates for Milwaukee Police Chief, click on the stories below:
- Milwaukee Assistant Chief, Jeffrey Norman
- Pittsburgh Commander, Jason Lando
- Portland Deputy Chief, Chris Davis
- Opa-Locka City Manager, John E. Pate
- Dallas Police Major, Malik Aziz