Commission directs Milwaukee police chief to make changes

July 21, 2020 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A citizen oversight commission has given Milwaukee’s police chief a long list of directives as it works to revise the police department procedures. Failing to comply with those directives could lead to discipline against Chief Alfonso Morales, even his termination.

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Monday night directed Morales to publicly account for why the department used tear gas during recent civil unrest and change police policies so those chemicals can no longer be used. Other directives ranges from providing specific files on investigations and discipline, to updates on hiring and promotions, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The commission has been working to revise the police department’s procedures on use-of-force, civil disturbances and officer-involved deaths, but has made slow progress. The commission itself is in turmoil with staffing shortages and its chairman under investigation for ethics violations.

In issuing the list, the commission noted that “failure to comply fully and promptly with these directives shall result in disciplinary action by the board, including discharge, suspension, or reduction in rank.”

The commission is one of the most powerful civilian oversight boards in the country. It’s responsible for the hiring, firing and promotion of Milwaukee’s police and fire personnel as well as auditing internal investigations, independently investigating and monitoring citizen complaints and reviewing police and fire procedures.