'Maybe the National Guard:' Chief may request help with 100+ police departments pulling out of DNC

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said Wednesday, July 29 he may seek state or federal assistance with more than 100 local police departments pulling out of responding to the Democratic National Convention starting Aug. 17. Meanwhile, with his job at stake if he doesn't comply with a list of directives handed down by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, the chief weighed in on those orders, with some due Thursday.

Chief Morales wasn't shy about the fact that his future is uncertain.

"I gotta be able to look at myself in the mirror," he said. "I gotta be able to do the right thing, whether it means my job or not."

Critics call for firing of Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

While some have called for his firing, supporters say the chief, seven months into his term, has done nothing wrong. However, if he does not comply with the 11 directives handed down by the FPC, he could lose his job.

"There is now a dilution of the chief's ability to marshal all of his managers to deal with these street issues because he has to take care of the whims and wills of the FPC," said Franklyn Gimbel, Morales' attorney.

One directive calls for Morales to get rid of tear gas altogether -- something he does not support. That directive is the reason more than 100 agencies have pulled out of responding to the DNC. 

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

"We've come this far bringing these items to ensure the safety of the community, and now, we take them away," said Morales. "It's just going to open up the opportunity for people to get hurt."

Morales said Wednesday he won't be updating the number of agencies that won't be responding for security reasons, and because it was changing by the hour -- but he did say the Wisconsin National Guard could be tapped if needed.

"I want to make sure we are prepared to secure the national convention," said Morales. "We work with the Secret Service. If some agencies drop out, we have to understand we're going to look for additional resources, whether federal or maybe even the National Guard. Those numbers keep changing, and we have to be very careful not showing our playbook."

Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee -- site of the Democratic National Convention

Much of that playbook specific to security -- is secret. Whether the National Guard will be tapped and in what capacity isn't yet clear.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the FPC is under investigation for an alleged ethics violation -- something Morales said is frustrating, but doesn't mean he won't comply with the directives.

"He will do it, but I can't see a reason that is a good alternative to setting the table to dismiss Chief Morales from his job as chief," said Gimbel.

In the meantime, Chief Morales doesn't know whether that job will be there waiting for him.

"That's for the public to find out later," he said.

Morales' attorney asked for an extension on some of the deadlines, but it was not granted. He said he intends to turn in some of the paperwork for Thursday's deadline, and again on Aug. 4.