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Alfonso Morales Is Milwaukee's Police Chief For Another Four Years

Angelina Mosher Salazar
The hearing room was packed ahead of the Wednesday night vote to confirm Alfonso Morales (center, left) as Milwaukee's chief of police.

In a difficult and divided vote, on Wednesday, the Fire and Police Commission reappointed Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to a four-year term.

And this is how Morales feels: "Relieved and thankful. Very humbling to see all the people that came here," he said.

His reaction comes after a three-hour public hearing on the issue of his reappointment. There were many who voiced their support for the chief, including Cary Dyer, the head of Milwaukee's office of the Secret Service.

"Being around Chief Morales and his leadership team, it's evident that their concern is the citizens of Milwaukee and the community," Dyer said.

READ: A Look At The Tenure Of Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

But the support for the chief was not unanimous. Multiple community members voiced their concern, particularly with the way the Fire and Police Commission handled Morales' reappointment. Mary Watkins was one of those who wanted the hearing delayed.

"A last minute meeting at 8:30 on a Wednesday night was not the proper time to address this issue," Watkins said.

Watkins cited a number of reasons she wanted the hearing be pushed to a later date. One was a lack of information from the Milwaukee Police Department regarding the internal investigation on the controversial arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. In addition, Watkins referenced MPD’s compliance with recommendations resulting from an ACLU lawsuit regarding police practices.

Watkins' sentiment was reiterated by chairman Steven DeVougas, who voted not to reappoint the chief. But DeVougas made clear he was voting against the process and against the chief.

"My reservation was not with the chief or his performance. I think that there was answers that the community demanded and we are just trying to move the department forward," DeVougas said.

In the end — with a vote of four in favor, two against, and one abstention — Morales was confirmed. This will be his first full term. Morales first took office after former Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn retired.

Angelina Mosher Salazar joined WUWM in 2018 as the Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She was then a reporter with the station until 2021.
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