Milwaukee considers proposal to move police HQ

MILWAUKEE -- A proposal to relocate the main police headquarters from downtown Milwaukee is getting some extra attention. The idea is being floated by Alderman Bob Bauman.

Right now, the Police Administration Building is located at 7th and State in downtown Milwaukee. The building needs $58 million in renovations to improve the heating and air conditioning system. The cost would also cover asbestos problems and other issues.

Alderman Bauman is suggesting the new PAB be moved to a new location near 27th and Wisconsin on the city's west side. He also proposes moving the District 1 police station to an existing structure near 6th and Wisconsin.

Police Chief Ed Flynn says he's a fan of moving the District 1 police station. But he believes it is important for the PAB to remain where it is; near the District Attorney's office and medical examiner. "I don't think trying to move this building makes sense. We've got 830 people who work int his building right now, and need a decent place to work," Chief Flynn said.

Chief Flynn says he would rather the city invest $5 million a year over the next ten years to make gradual improvements to the PAB. Alderman Bauman says renovations to the PAB would cost $58 million, and for that price tag, he'd rather see a new facility at 27th and Wisconsin, where police presence could decrease crime and spur more development nearby. "There are certain challenges in that neighborhood that I believe, the location of a police administration building and all the activity it would generate would go a long way toward solving," Bauman said.

What Alderman Bauman is asking for now is for the city to draft proposals on the cost of such a project -- and how it could be done. An actual decision on a new police headquarters is a ways down the road.

One thing Chief Flynn does like about the 27th and Wisconsin location is an empty school building near the property that he says the police department would be happy to use to store evidence and records. Flynn says they've already asked the school district to consider it.