Chief Flynn speaks out on current hot topics during live interview

September 17, 2015

By Steve Waring

Special to The Milwaukee Times

Mike Gousha with Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn during an "On the Issues" interview.

Mike Gousha with Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn during an “On the Issues” interview.

Fresh from unanimously being reelected to another four-year term by the Fire and Police Commission the month before, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn participated in a “On the Issues public interview with Mike Gousha,” August 27 at Marquette University. Most Milwaukee crime statistics have declined from the previous year, but homicide has increased by more than 80 percent over last year, according to Chief Flynn. He said many other major US cities have experienced sharp increases in homicide and the conclusion of a recent conference of law enforcement experts Chief Flynn attended concluded that the majority of victims were young African American men engaged in criminal behavior coming into conflict with other young African American men also engaged in criminal behavior. In response to a question from the moderator as to whether the increase in homicides seemed to be tied
to increased gang or drug activity, Chief Flynn said no. Rather he said that the increased homicides seemed to be caused by a more widespread availability of guns and a more ready willingness to use them. “The most dangerous thing
you can do in some neighborhoods is win a fistfight,” he said. A lot of the killing seems to be revenge tied to insults that began with something published on Facebook or some perceived slight. Qualifying his criticism of Wisconsin’s gun laws, Chief Flynn said he is a supporter of concealed carry permits, but that when Wisconsin changed its law permitting concealed carry of handguns a few years back, the governor and state legislature produced “a very foolish law” which leaves unchanged a law which makes it a misdemeanor for a felon caught in possession of a handgun, no matter how many times they are arrested. Under those circumstances it’s probably more dangerous to be without a concealed handgun, Chief Flynn said. Chief Flynn saved perhaps
his most provocative words in response to a question posed to him by The Milwaukee Times at the conclusion of the forum about the hiring of more persons of color on the police force. In his videotaped reply Chief Flynn said the Milwaukee Police Department has fast-track recruiting programs and that “if you want to have an impact on your community there’s no place you’ll have an impact faster than being a police office of conscience and restraint in your own community.” If young, idealistic Milwaukee youth hear nothing but bad things about the police department from their community leaders, “why should we be surprised that we have a hard time getting these young people into our ranks?” Flynn said.