MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee’s Common Council heard a proposal Tuesday, June 12th to direct the City of Milwaukee Comptroller to conduct a third audit of the Milwaukee Police Department’s crime-reporting practices. The Council voted 13-1 in favor of sending the proposal directing the Comptroller to conduct the audit back to committee.
Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik proposed the audit resolution after a newspaper investigation showed hundreds of criminal cases were not properly classified, resulting in the apparent under-reporting of violent crimes. Dudzik believes the City Comptroller will be able to determine what, if any, changes are appropriate to the MPD’s crime-reporting practices.
“I wanted to get this up and running as soon as possible because of the negative image. I think that the image of the Milwaukee Police Department mis-stating, or misrepresenting crime stats is something that does this city no service whatsoever,” Dudzik said.
After Tuesday’s vote, the proposal heads back to the Public Safety Committee for further discussion. Dudzik’s colleagues on the Common Council expressed reservations — citing the audit’s projected cost and parameters and other audits in progress.
The Milwaukee Police Department is currently conducting an internal audit, and the FBI is conducting an audit of their own regarding the reporting of crime-statistics. Those findings will go the Fire and Police Commission, which will then be released to the public.
“Before we spend any money, we need to decide whether this is a redundant spending of money given that in advance of this newspaper article, there was an internal audit going on,” Alderman Bob Donovan said.
Donovan, one of the audit resolution’s co-sponsors ultimately voted with the majority (sending the audit back to committee), but not before being asked whether he thinks the stats were skewed for political reasons.
“I think in this political climate, this day and age, and given what I know has gone on in other communities, that certainly is a possibility,” Donovan said.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn has said there are inaccuracies in the reported crime numbers, but says it was a result of office error — not an intentional coverup.
“We recognize that we will make mistakes. We recognize that we will have technological error and human error judgments, those things will occur. We don’t make excuses for them. We do not promise perfection, we promise excellence,” Chief Flynn said.
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