MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan is renewing his call for a change in police policy in Milwaukee. Alderman Donovan says there is a direct correlation between the Milwaukee Police Department's pursuit policy and the city's crime rate.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says he wants to make it clear: MPD doesn't have a "no pursuit" policy. If officers know someone has committed a violence crime -- officers will pursue that suspect.
Chief Flynn pointed to a recent case, where a police pursuit ended in a crash and an arrest in Bay View -- after an armed robbery in Oak Creek.
It happened on Sunday, July 19th.
St. Francis police say three total suspects were taken into custody -- and they are seeking a fourth suspect.
The pursuit ended in a crash on S. Clement on Sunday evening. Officers were in pursuit of a vehicle involved in an armed robbery one day prior in Oak Creek.
Police say the vehicle was observed casing businesses in Cudahy prior to the pursuit.
No one was injured during this incident.
Chief Flynn spoke out about MPD's pursuit policy as new police recruits got ready to undergo training to become MPD officers.
"We expect them to be prepared to serve the public and to do so, if necessary, at the risk of their own personal safety," Chief Flynn said.
But not at the risk of the public's safety.
MPD's pursuit policy reads in part:
Milwaukee Police Department pursuit policy
The policy first changed back in 2010, after an innocent woman was killed during a pursuit.
In the first seven months of 2009, MPD officials say officers engaged in 98 vehicle pursuits.
In the first seven months of 2015, there have been 116 pursuits by MPD officers.
Police pursuits in Milwaukee
"If the officer has knowledge that this person has committed a violent crime or has probable cause to believe it, we authorize a pursuit," Chief Flynn said.
"We`ve seen a significant level of disorder as a result of this policy," Alderman Donovan said.
Alderman Donovan says he partially blames the policy for the increasing crime rate in Milwaukee.
"I ask the mayor to step in if necessary to put an end to this ill-advised policy that is sadly fueling crime across Milwaukee," Alderman Donovan said.
Chief Flynn says the issue isn't so much about what officers do during the pursuit -- but what happens to the criminals after they're caught.
"This has been one of the problems with pursuing stolen cars -- is lack of consequences," Chief Flynn said.
Flynn says right now, stealing a vehicle means zero points in juvenile court -- which some say is a slap on the wrist.
We're told nearly all of the recent pursuits in the area have involved stolen vehicles.
Alderman Bob Donovan issued this statement to FOX6 News regarding Flynn's comments on MPD's pursuit policy:
"During an appearance this afternoon, with the mayor standing quietly beside him, Chief Flynn said this:
“We expect criminals to act recklessly without regard for lives of the innocent. We expect the police to put the lives of the innocent first. I think it’s unfortunate we’ve got some politicians out there that think the police should be thinking like criminals.”
For the Chief to equate highly trained, professional and sworn law enforcement officers with criminals is simply outrageous. Our officers are sworn to apprehend those who break the law, and when they are allowed to do their jobs they’re pretty damn good at it.
Officers perform duties on a daily basis that most of us would not ever think of performing. And for this chief – in his twisted logic – to compare the thoughtful and measured actions of officers with those of reckless criminals, is utterly outrageous and disappointing.
The Chief’s comments are an insult to our dedicated officers, and he quite apparently has lost his sense of proportion.
And how about the mayor? When will we hear from Milwaukee’s CEO on this important topic (no pursuit policy)?
He seems content to simply hide behind someone else – in this instance the Chief – and his comments."