Milwaukee — The League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County has issued a report, titled “A Clarion Call for Change: Report and Recommendations on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission,” calling for reforms to the Fire and Police Commission (FPC). The report, which was shared with the FPC, government officials, Milwaukee-area community organizations and others, also recommends that the Milwaukee Common Council lead the City in development of a community safety plan.
The League seeks FPC reform in 12 areas, ranging from the Commission taking a stronger policymaking role to ensuring that the Milwaukee Police Department force is more diverse and representative of the Milwaukee community. The report also urges the mayor to appoint nine FPC commissioners, as allowed by state law, instead of limiting the number to seven.
In preparing this report, the League was motivated by concerns such as racial disparity and the overuse of force in Milwaukee policing, as well as FPC dysfunction in recent years. “We chose to focus on the FPC, rather than the police department itself, because the FPC’s job is to govern the MPD, and in our view, improvements in policing are dependent on improvements to the FPC,” said Peggy Creer, president of the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County.
The League does not consider FPC improvements as the ultimate solution to enhancing the welfare of Milwaukee residents, however. It calls upon the Common Council to take the lead role in developing a Milwaukee community safety plan. This plan would provide residents better opportunities and access to healthcare, education, food, housing, transportation, and employment — ensuring equity and a high quality of day-to-day life and, thus, true security in communities. Policing would remain a component of public safety, but just one component among many.
“The League commends the work of other community organizations that have been seeking improvements in policing and public safety,” Creer said. “Collaboration with other community organizations, the FPC, and government officials will be essential to make the recommendations reality.”
Since 1920, the League of Women Voters has been an activist, nonpartisan, grassroots organization whose leaders and members believe that people should play a critical role in democracy. Throughout the years, it has engaged in the dual purposes of education and advocacy. The new report from the Milwaukee County League is grounded in League principles and positions, including community policy to “promote the fiscal, social, cultural, residential, educational and environmental quality of life for all residents,” and law enforcement policy that is “locally developed by cooperative efforts of citizens and law enforcement agencies using state guidelines, but reflecting local needs.”
View the full FPC Report here.