Milwaukee FPC names next acting police chief

It remains unknown who will serve as the next permanent Milwaukee police chief, but the city's Fire and Police Commission (FPC) did approve the department's next interim leader on Thursday night, Dec. 17 — current Assistant Chief Jeffrey Norman.

Acting Chief Michael Brunson, a 25-year veteran of the force, will retire on Tuesday.

Commissioners thanked Brunson for his service and welcomed his short-term successor on Thursday -- all the while remaining gridlocked on their vote for the next permanent chief.

"For the four months that you've been here, I have never been happier with the representation of the police department," said FPC Vice Chair Angela McKenzie of Brunson.

Acting Chief Michael Brunson

"I just want to personally thank you for being willing to serve when called upon," said Steven DeVougas, FPC commissioner. "You really were a team player, and the department will really be missing a key individual."

The plan initially was to have Brunson help with the transition to the department's next chief — either Dallas Police Major Malik Aziz or FBI Special Agent Hoyt Mahaley. After two meetings, the FPC's vote remains tied 3-3.

Malik Aziz, Hoyt Mahaley

So, as Brunson recommended, the FPC approved the promotion of Norman to acting chief, effective next Tuesday, Dec. 22.

"I am honored to serve in this role," Norman said. "I will serve as best as possible in regards to the duties and responsibilities thereof."

Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman

Among the top six finalists for the permanent chief position, Norman began his career with the Milwaukee Police Department in 1996. He said he is grateful for the chance to lead.

"I'm pleased to have been recommended by a person that's held it down since the change has occurred for the department, and I appreciate that I'm allowed this responsibility," Norman said.

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It may be a while before the FPC can break its tie vote for the next police chief.

The Common Council was set to vote on approval of a seventh commissioner -- Amanda Avalos -- this week, but the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office didn't complete her background check in time.

The council's next meeting isn't until Jan. 19.

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