As rain and wind swept through Milwaukee Monday, members of a new commission stood outside City Hall, eager to share their commitment to bring change to Milwaukee’s much-criticized police department.
Nate Hamilton chairs the Community Collaborative Commission, a group that evolved from a committee to a body recognized by Milwaukee's Common Council. The commission is made up of 16 members, representing Milwaukee’s diversity.
Hamilton has a particular interest in crafting a comprehensive community-oriented policing policy. In 2014 Hamilton’s brother Dontre was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee.
Hamilton says he is determined to bring change.
“We want to see true results when it comes to the interaction between law enforcement and community,” Hamilton says.
Assistant Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau Jeffrey Norman is at the table. Norman acknowledges the process won’t be easy but says he’s confident the commission will come up with a plan “we can all agree on.”
“I believe that everyone can agree that we are being respectful in our conversations and that we’re hearing the concerns of our community and as a department that serves the community, we need to be responsive to that,” Norman says.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton was instrumental to the group's transition from a committee to a commission. He stands in support of the commission’s work, saying the broader community must get involved in the process.
“Because the measurement of whether or not we’re doing it right is a measurement that is weighed by the community. History has shown us that the voices that are typically left off the table or ... are not leading the conversation, are typically not the focal point of the change that needs to happen,” Ashanti Hamilton says.
Chairman Nate Hamilton says the commission’s community-oriented policing policy will be drafted by January, but much more work lies ahead.
“I want to see more commitment from churches. I want to see more commitment from businesses that work within, that makes money and financial wealth off of poor communities, more investing into them. I want to see people out cleaning up their neighborhoods,” Nate Hamilton says.
Nate Hamilton says there’s more to creating a city that’s the best it can be than remolding its police department.