Police chief focuses on his officers earning trust of community

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn has made significant strides in fighting crime in his first four years as the city's top cop. But he knows there's plenty to do. At the top of his list, getting his officers to earn the trust of the public.

Chief Flynn used his first four years to reshape his department. District lines were redrawn to unify neighborhoods. Calls were prioritized to enable more bike and foot patrols. Now, Flynn expects officers to become part of their communities; not mere observers.

"District commanders and their coppers have to be absolutely wired into where the neighborhoods are and who the players are," said Flynn Tuesday. "In four more years, I want us to have a good handle on the crime problem and I want more neighborhoods feeling healthy and stable and confident in themselves. It's really as much about community confidence and confidence in the city as it is with anything else."
Chief Flynn believes he will have the hardest time changing community opinion where it needs to the most. He says those neighborhoods most distressed by crime have had the most ambiguous relationship with law enforcement over the decades.