FPC names top 6 candidates for Milwaukee police chief

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC) announced the names of its top candidates for Milwaukee police chief Thursday night, Oct. 1.

Twelve people applied for the job as part of a nationwide search, and the FPC named the top six candidates.

The FPC's list includes one internal candidate and five from other law enforcement agencies and cities. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Malik Aziz, Dallas deputy police chief
  • Chris Davis, Portland, Oregon deputy police chief
  • Jason Lando, Pittsburgh police commander
  • Hoyt Mahaley, FBI agent based in Washington D.C.
  • Jeffrey Norman, Milwaukee assistant police chief
  • John Pate, Opa-Locka, Florida city manager; a former police chief

Milwaukee Police Department

Norman, the commission's lone candidate from within the Milwaukee Police Department, has been with MPD since 1996. He was appointed assistant chief earlier this year and is the current commander of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

FOX6 News spoke to one of the candidates, Pate, on Thursday evening.

"I feel that all my roles that I've held in my professional career as an adult, including my law enforcement and government management roll, have prepared me to be successful as a chief of police," Pate said. "As well as take the police department to the next level."

Alfonso Morales

The new chief will replace Alfonso Morales, who retired in August and filed a claim against the city after the FPC demoted him to captain and appointed Michael Brunson acting chief.

Brunson told FOX6 News that he plans to retire from the department in December once the appointment of a new chief is finalized. He has spent 25 years with the police department.

The acting chief said Morales' demotion did not play any part in his decision to retire, but did admit that 2020 has been the most challenging year of his career, dealing with the pandemic, a rise in violent crime and civil unrest.

"My whole goal is to move the department forward and to leave things better than I found them," Brunson said. "So until my time is up, I plan on doing that. I plan on serving this department, and this city, and the residents of this city to the best of my ability until my time is complete here."

Acting Chief Michael Brunson

Acting Chief Michael Brunson

FOX6 News learned Thursday that Brunson did not apply for the chief position. He does, though, plan to help with the transition.

Brunson would not say which candidate should replace him, but said a leader who already knows Milwaukee would help move the department forward.

"There are some definite benefits to someone who knows the ins and outs of the department," said Brunson. "They know the personnel, the environment, so I think that is important."

Brunson will be eligible for retirement on Dec. 4, one day after the FPC plans to choose the next Milwaukee police chief.

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All six candidates will be in Milwaukee later this month for in-person interviews with the FPC.

After Thursday's FPC announcement, the public will have a chance to weigh in at community meetings before the FPC narrows the candidates to three in November.

If all goes as planned, Milwaukee will have a new, permanent chief before the end of 2020. The board will then take more public comment before making a final decision on Dec. 3.

In the meantime, during Thursday evening's FPC meeting, Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing announced that Assistant Chief Aaron Lipski would becoming acting chief following Rohlfing's retirement on Oct. 30.

Milwaukee's fire chief announces retirement after 10 years on job

Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing announced his retirement in a news release issued on Friday afternoon, Sept. 25.

FPC: 12 candidates for MPD chief whittled to 5 by Oct. 1

Michael Brunson is serving as acting Milwaukee police chief after former Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted to captain by the FPC in August.