Thursday, January 17, 2008

Milwaukee's new police chief hits the ground running

Ed Flynn, Milwaukee's new police chief, probably isn't unpacked but he's already trying to come up with ways to attack the city's crime infestation.

This week plans were announced to beef up technology, patrol strength and even old-fashioned cops on the beat in Milwaukee's third police district.

It'll be some time before anyone knows if this plan will work but perhaps more interesting is how Flynn approached this.

First, he challenged his district commanders to come up with crime reduction plans for their areas. Apparently the third district was the first to weigh in and, when it came time to discuss the nitty gritty, it was Capt. James Harpole, the third district commander, who addressed reporters about the plan he devised in collaboration with his officers.

There are some very smart moves going on here, folks.

Flynn, an "outsider" who came from Springfield, Mass., empowered his commanders and their staffs to come up with these plans and then, instead of hogging the limelight, he turned the briefing over to the guy who knows the first plan best. I'll bet there are folks in the Milwaukee Police Department who are dancing with joy (and some "dead wood" who aren't).

Kenosha's crime problem, of course, is nowhere near as bad as Milwaukee's nor are the internal issues within the Kenosha Police Department anywhere near as critical. Nonetheless John Morrissey, the new chief, might do well to look at Flynn's approach. Morrissey, of course, already has quite a few things on his plate and one of them is how to maintain and improve partnerships with key players in the community. There's a lot of wisdom out there and the new chief will demonstrate his by tapping into it.

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