According to an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee Police Department ("MPD") has pressured its officers to underreport crimes. The Journal Sentinel spoke to several police officers, who described a culture within the MPD where officers are pressured to underreport crimes to keep crime numbers down. After reviewing numerous internal e-mails, the Journal Sentinel also discovered that MPD command staff has known of problems with the computer system for crime reporting. Despite the problems with the MPD's crime reporting, Chief Ed Flynn has repeatedly bragged about falling crime numbers in the city. Interestingly, after the Journal Sentinel investigation, Chief Flynn reported an increase in the violent crime rate for 2012, the first increase since Chief Flynn took over the MPD. For more information about the MPD's crime reporting problems, please see the Journal Sentinel report here.
The civil rights lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. are distressed to learn about the MPD's crime reporting problems. We are not surprised, however, to learn that there is pressure on MPD officers to underreport crime. In prosecuting civil rights cases involving MPD officers, we have learned that there is also pressure on MPD officers not to report the misconduct of their fellow officers, which has created a "code of silence" within the MPD. Currently the United States Department of Justice is considering whether to conduct a complete review of the MPD. We hope that the DOJ conducts the review, so that the citizens of Milwaukee can trust the information provided by its police department.