Changes may be coming to MPD's "use of force" policy

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Police Department may soon change its policies following a year of high-profile incidents. The "use of force" section of MPD's handbook is changing after a year that saw the reopening of the in-custody death of Derek Williams, officers charged for alleged illegal strip searches and a high-profile incident on Water Street that was caught on camera.

Milwaukee police may adopt new "use of force" policies beginning January 1st.

Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Mike Tobin and the board recommended the changes.

"What you're seeing now are very good changes that need to be done. When it comes to use of force, that's something that's at the top of our list right now," Tobin said.

Most new use of force language is simply important wording clarifications, but perhaps most notably, there's a revised section on an officer's "duty to intervene" reading in part: "Any police member present and observing another police member using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall reasonably attempt to intercede to prevent the use of such force."

Monday afternoon, December 3rd, during the Fire and Police Commissions hearing for reinstated officer Richard Schoen, who was originally fired for excessive use of force, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn discussed his department's current and future use of force policies.

"When police officers see officers engaging in misconduct, we expect them to intervene," Chief Flynn said.

The new "use of force" policies will be looked at by the Fire and Police Commission at their meeting on Thursday, December 6th.