Six Milwaukee Common Council members – Alds. Milele A. Coggs, Nikiya Dodd, Chantia Lewis, Russell W. Stamper, II, Ashanti Hamilton and Khalif J. Rainey – issued a joint statement Wednesday afternoon noting that Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales will face a performance review with the Fire and Police Commission this month and encouraging the public to submit input ahead of that review.
"Chief Morales was not elected by the people (he was appointed to the position) but the decisions he makes and the manner in which he runs the Milwaukee Police Department have a significant impact on every neighborhood, every citizen, every institution, and every business in the City of Milwaukee," the statement reads.
"The Chief’s management style and decision-making have been apparent during the past week, which has seen protests and civil unrest erupt in the city in the wake of the mistreatment and homicide (on video) of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police.
"Milwaukee Police have used tear gas, flash-bang devices and employed unique traffic and crowd control measures during these past several days. Police have also made numerous arrests for various offenses during this period, and Chief Morales has appeared at several news conferences (usually with the Mayor) to address current police and public safety issues."
The alders' statement also distances themselves and the entire Common Council from decisions and actions made by MPD and its chief, who is appointed by the commission.
"To be clear," the statement says, "Chief Morales is the independent and ultimate commander of the Police Department, and he receives no input on day-to-day policing decisions from members of the Common Council. These decisions are his and his alone."
The statement encourages residents of the City of Milwaukee to email the Fire and Police Commission with input.
"We strongly encourage residents to reach out to members of the Fire and Police Commission, who are the oversight body for Chief Morales and the MPD, to let them know about any issues, questions or concerns they have regarding Chief Morales," it reads.
"Whether they are concerns about the conduct of MPD officers, the overall policing strategy of the department, or what needs to be improved or could be done better – the voice and input of citizens is critical and is needed now more than ever. Your input is welcome and it is vitally important!"
At roughly the same time the statement was emailed to the media, the Fire & Police Commission posted its citizen complaint procedures to Facebook and Twitter.
ICYMI: Here is an overview of how Citizen Complaints are handled by the Fire & Police Commission: https://t.co/yd25JIwMdW
.#FPCMKE #FireandPoliceCommission #MKE #Milwaukee #CommunityMatters #Transparency pic.twitter.com/zGbaQBTCFn — Fire & Police Commission - MKE (@FPCMKE) June 3, 2020
The full commission's next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.