MILWAUKEE - The search for the next police chief for the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) has been narrowed down to six candidates. Those candidates are coming from around the country -- and only one of them is a current member of the department.
Candidates for Milwaukee police chief
"This is an opportunity to step up," said MPD Assistant Police Chief Jeffrey Norman.
The only internal candidate is Norman. He told FOX6 News reducing the city's homicide and non-fatal shooting numbers is a priority if he gets the job.
"This is unprecedented in our last couple years," Norman said.
Norman said continuing to build relationships with the public is also very important to him.
"We need to look for more engagement -- ways of talking and dealing with our community," Norman said.
Norman has been with MPD for more than 20 years. He is one of six candidates from across the country interviewing with the Fire and Police Commission at the end of the month.
Acting Chief Michael Brunson announced he is retiring in December.
FOX6 News spoke with John Pate, a former Illinois police chief and current city manager and director of public safety in Florida.
"My law enforcement and municipal management roles have prepared me to be successful as a chief of police for the city of Milwaukee as well as to take the city of Milwaukee police department to the next level," Pate said.
Other candidates include Portland Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis, Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz, and Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando.
"After 20 years with the city of Pittsburgh, I decided to start looking at great leadership opportunities and as I look for places across the country," Lando said. "It is important that I try to find a place where the needs of the organization match my strength and I thought Milwaukee would be a great place."
Lando believes the police community initiatives he has helped launch in Pittsburgh can help the challenges in Brew City.
"The main thing for me is to make the city if Milwaukee one of the safest cities to live in," said Hoyt Mahaley, an FBI agent in Washington and also a candidate for the MPD post.
Mahaley is a Milwaukee native and worked for five years as a Milwaukee police officer. He believes his experience and leadership skills can move the department forward.
"I want officers to hold other officers accountable and I want them to hold themselves accountable," Mahaley said. "I want to be in dialogue with the community and making sure we address the issues at hand."
Acting Chief Brunson did not endorse any of the candidates. But he did say he felt the best man for the job should be someone who knows the city. Brunson plans to help with the transition before he retires.