WAUWATOSA — After serving at the helm of the Wauwatosa Police Department for the last 31 years, Chief Barry Weber is set to retire this June, the department announced Monday.
Chief Weber has overseen the department through a turbulent period this past year, including the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole by former police officer Joseph Mensah; protests and unrest over police brutality; and the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Weber has worked in law enforcement for a total of 48 years, 31 of those years as chief of the Wauwatosa Police Department. His retirement is effective June 1 of this year.
Per Wisconsin law, Wauwatosa's Police and Fire Commission is in charge of choosing a new police chief. The police department did not announce any potential candidates in its statement Monday, but Weber's retirement is still four months away.
"Chief Weber, thank you for your service and commitment to the men and women of the Wauwatosa Police Department and this community. You have shown dedication and professionalism throughout your career. We wish you the best in retirement," the police department wrote in the statement.
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis R. McBride also issued a statement Monday, saying the Police and Fire Commission will hold a special meeting to formally accept Barry's retirement and begin the hiring process.
Some people were more than happy to see Chief Weber will leave his post.
"You can't ignore the fact that his legacy will be measured by the lack of accountability of his own officers, an officer that killed three people over five years. No accountability," said Democratic State Representative David Bowen.
"We welcome the news that Chief Weber will no longer be the Chief of Wauwatosa. However, he should be fired and his employment with Wauwatosa should actually end today. He has already done so much damage to the Wauwatosa Police Department to the City of Wauwatosa," said attorney Kimberley Motley who represents the families of the three people Mensah killed, Jay Anderson Jr., Antonio Gonzalez, and Alvin Cole.
Over the last year, Weber has faced intense scrutiny following revelations former officer Mensah shot and killed three people while on duty. Mensah was cleared each time.
"He failed to properly supervise him. He failed to properly handle a situation and he continues to fail to actually show any accountability as it relates to Joseph Mensah," said Motley.
For days, Wauwatosa imposed a curfew. Peaceful protests transformed into clashes between protesters and police.
The chairman of Wauwatosa's Equity and Inclusion Commission, Sean Lowe, said he iss happy Weber built a diverse police department that resembles the community, but condemned his handling of the Mensah situation.
Looking ahead, he and others urged transparency in selecting Wauwatosa's next police chief. Both Bowen and Lowe stressed a need for someone open to change and working with the community.
"I think community input in this next decision is key because we should be focusing on community relations and community policing," said Lowe, "I think that trust needs to be rebuilt in the police department especially amongst citizens of color."
TMJ4 News reached out to the Wauwatosa Peace Officers Association.
The City of Milwaukee, meanwhile, has still not chosen its new police chief following the demotion of former chief Alfonso Morales. Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commissionis deadlocked on a vote between the two top candidates.
Wauwatosa's Police and Fire Commission will announce updates on the hiring process for a new police chief on its website here.