EXCLUSIVE: Milwaukee Police Officers Face Onerous Reporting Requirements

Milwaukee Police officers will be forced to log every one of their interpersonal interactions under the terms of the Milwaukee Police Department's recent settlement, News/Talk 1130 WISN has learned.

According to an Administration Bureau Implementation Guide obtained by WISN, compliance with the Police Department's settlement in Collins v. City of Milwaukee, "the Department shall ensure that every traffic/subject stop, no-action encounter, frisk, and search is documented in an electronic record, regardless of the outcome."

Several Milwaukee Police officers told News/Talk 1130 that they are concerned about the impact of this new policy.

"The excessive documentation, and punitive measures if the documentation isn't carried out, will deter cops from conducting field interviews and traffic stops," said one officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Implementation Guide provides that officers' "failure to adhere to these standards and conduct stops in a lawful manner can result in counseling, retraining, or discipline."

"I know for a fact some officers will just stop doing interviews," said another officer.  "They'd rather just not talk to someone if not documenting the conversation could mean that they get punished."

Each stop--regardless of whether it results in an arrest or even questioning--must be logged in a database and include:

-Demographic information about the person contacted, including race, gender, and age

-Address, district, date and time

-"Narrative explaining the legal basis for the stop"

-"Whether a frisk or search was conducted, the legal basis for the frisk/search, and documentation of evidence or contraband recovered"

-Whether the stop resulted in the use of force and "if so, the type, level, and justification"

Under the terms of its settlement, the Milwaukee Police Department must create a system to ensure that all required information is entered.  Four times per year, the Department must provide to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, and an outside consultant data on every traffic and subject stop, frisk, and search that officers conducted.

Each year, the Fire and Police Commission must publish this data.

"Get ready for Milwaukee's crime statistics to rise," said one officer.  "It's hard to fight crime with so much bureaucratic red tape and oversight."

Earlier this year, The City of Milwaukee reached a $1.9 million settlement with the ACLU in a lawsuit filed in 2017 over the Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices, which the suit alleged unfairly targeted African-Americans and Hispanics.

The payment had ballooned to $6 million before Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the city's Common Council approved $3.4 million in July

The ACLU had alleged that "Milwaukee police officers made more than 350,000 traffic and pedestrian stops from 2010 to 2017 for which they have no record explaining probable cause for the interaction."

According to ACLU statistics, African-Americans and Hispanics were detained at a rate six times higher than white drivers or pedestrians following stops by Milwaukee Police officers.

"The result of this is that cops aren't going to want to stop or even talk to anyone because they'll be worried about whether they'll be accused of racism and punished for simply doing their jobs," said an officer, who added that he personally would have to think about how proactive he would be in chasing down leads and questioning potential suspects. 

"You definitely have to ask yourself now, 'Is it really worth it?' If you can get dinged just for trying to solve crimes, how hard are you going to try to solve crimes?"

Dan O'Donnell

Dan O'Donnell

Common Sense Central is edited by WISN's Dan O'Donnell. Dan provides unique conservative commentary and analysis of stories that the mainstream media often overlooks. Read more

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