Plea from MKE Alderman for police help ignored

How bad has it gotten in Milwaukee? So bad stoned hookers and pimps feel free to stop traffic, and kids are stumbling onto dirty needles and used condoms; prostitutes flash Catholic priests-- and proposition them while little old ladies have to explain to their grand kids that those rubber things aren't BALLOONS.  Doesn't this sound LOVELY?

Stalwart Alderman Bob Donovan now is--literally--BEGGING Chief Ed Flynn for help with the prostitution and drug problems in his district.  Unsurprisingly, his plaintive wails continue to be ignored. 

Have a look at what Alderman Donovan just sent out:  

Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan

June 29, 2017

Citizens across Milwaukee and the metro area would be shocked, embarrassed and angered if they witnessed the blatant prostitution and drug activity taking place on a daily basis at certain locations on the near south side.

For some time Alderman José Pérez and I have been working behind the scenes with MilwaukeePolice, with neighbors and others to put a stop to the brazen and disgusting behavior -- acts taking place for instance at and near S. 23rd St. and W. Greenfield Ave. 

During my 17 years as 8th District Alderman I have never seen any criminal activity flaunted so often and cavalierly as we are seeing at S. 23rd and Greenfield every day! It saddens and sickens me that the activity has ramped up, in my view, because of the heroin epidemic. Those engaged in the prostitution related activities shoot up and then just throw their needles into the street or in the gutter, left behind for children to see and for someone else to remove (the same goes for spent condoms – disgusting!).

It is difficult for most citizens and observers to imagine what it must be like to live down the block or across the street from this daily activity. No one should have to live with blatant prostitution happening outside their windows! 

Alderman Perez and I have done our due diligence and we have stood up for our constituents. We have held numerous meetings with the police, with the District Attorney’s office, with the City Attorney’s Office and with Chief Flynn (with the exception of the City Attorney’s Office, largely to no avail).

Prostitution has been a concern along portions of National, Greenfield and Lincoln avenues for years but it has never, ever, ever been as out of control as it is now.  Years ago I would have placed a call to a police sergeant and problems would have been handled quickly. Today the department seems to just be going through the motions on the issue – either unable or unwilling to take decisive action

I’m told that as a result of our urgings to do something officers have been instructed to increase arrests (in many instances logging valuable overtime in the process), but those arrested are taken in for booking, issued a municipal citation and then released within about an hour to go right back to committing the same crimes. That approach is a joke!  The arrests, however, provide cover for Chief Flynn (“hey we are doing our job -- look at all these arrests we’ve been making”) but do NOTHING to reduce the activity!

Someone needs to explain to Chief Flynn that there IS indeed a difference between activity and results and it is not acceptable in my opinion for MPD to just repeat the same failed efforts. Our citizens deserve far better, for God’s sake. 

The prostitution problem is so bad that it may require a monumental effort to restore order. I would hope MPD and the District Attorney are thinking about what that effort might look like and how quickly it can be deployed because the residents have had enough. I have certainly had enough and I am frustrated beyond words. My responsibility is to my constituents, but my power as an alderman is limited. I can urge the Chief to take action (which I have done repeatedly – please see the attached recent letter) but I cannot order him or the department to do anything.

It may require a groundswell of public anger and outrage in Milwaukee to demand action thatSOMETHING be done to reduce the prostitution activity and to clamp down on the drug problem that seems to be fueling it.

This is a fight that we cannot back down from and one that we must win.

I sent Alderman Donovan's letter(s) to Ret. Milwaukee Police Captain Glenn Frankovis, author of the EXCELLENT book on police strategy, Area Saturation Patrol (which could be a road map to fixing Milwaukee's crime problem if anyone actually CARED).  Glenn is one of the smartest cops I have ever met.  Here is what Glenn wrote back:

When I was the Commanding Officer of District #5 (calendar 2001), I met with a Neighborhood organization during which prostitution issues along King Drive (formerly 3rd Street) between North Avenue and Locust Street was brought to my attention.  You have to understand that back then I worked for Police Chief Arthur Jones who supported my crime fighting efforts and who, himself, would not tolerate such activity if it was brought to his attention by this group.  That said, I had a pretty good complement of personnel to include our District Area Saturation Patrol team supervised  by an excellent Sergeant.  The Department also had a Vice Control Division which, among other things, addressed the very complaints being raised by Bob Donovan in his letter to Barrett and Flynn.  It is my understanding that the Vice Control Division either no longer exists or, at best, is a skeleton of what it was when I was the Captain of #5 and even when I was Captain of District #3.

Here's how I handled the problem that was brought to my attention back then and how I'd handle it today if I had the same resources and Chief of Police:

1)  Assign a two man beat team with instructions to make summary arrests for any and all violations that come to their attention in this area.  Emphasis for charging would be toward State criminal violations as opposed to Municipal Ordinance violations, however summary arrests would be the order.  (When I was in Command we were only permitted to hold Municipal Ordinance violators for 4 hours after which they had to be released.  Whenever possible we'd have them conveyed to the downtown lockup where they'd be processed and then released, although that wasn't always easy because of some supervisors downtown who didn't want to have to deal with the additional work.  I wasn't exactly cordial with them either and pretty much pressed my issue and did it anyway.)

2)  I'd also contact the Vice Control Division (which is non existent now) and ask them for help - which I would have probably received immediately.  (I didn't have to do that in the case I referred to on King Drive as the two man beat team pretty much made the problem go away much to the satisfaction of the businessmen along that street.)3)  In the case of 23rd and Greenfield, if I had the same number of personnel and an ASP team, I'd assign the ASP team to make that specific area inhospitable for the pimps and prostitutes and johns.  That would involve frequent stops; arrests; citations; and general "attention" that would "cleanse" the area and restore order.  It's surgical and very effective.  We did it in many of the neighborhoods in the Districts I commanded and even earlier during my time as a Lieutenant and Sergeant.

Much of what I laid out here is in my book which is really just a blueprint/outline for how REAL police work was done and can be done even today under the right leadership.  You'll never see it under a Flynn/Barrett regime because they believe police work can be done using the "scare crow" strategy which is nothing more than being seen and not rattling cages in order to avoid the media "gotcha" reporters (who would be up in arms demanding the cops do something if they lived in this neighborhood).

The only hope for Milwaukee and the good cops will be if the Republicans take control of the City either through some kind of takeover or by making Barrett and Flynn submit to requirements if they want State aid.  Ideally Flynn gets replaced with a George Patton/Vince Lombardi kind of Police Chief and all will get better. 


That's some no-frills, no-nonsense, common-sense policing.  Which means it will probably not be implemented any time soon in Milwaukee.  Especially when the police chief and mayor are more interested in blaming lawful CCL holders who live in Milwaukee or even out-state Wisconsin. 

Here is one of the many letters Alderman Donovan has sent to Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn--and some contacts his constituents have made with him.   Pay attention to the description of the behavior of the pimps, drug addicts and hookers!  

Surely, Milwaukee, you can DO A LOT BETTER!

Vicki McKenna

Vicki McKenna

Listen to Vicki McKenna statewide, including Milwaukee and Madison, every weekday in Wisconsin! Read more


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