2 highest-ranking African-American MPD officers grew up in neighborhoods where they now fight crime

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE -- They are the two highest ranking African-American officers within the Milwaukee Police Department. Born and raised on Milwaukee's north side, they grew up in the neighborhood where they now fight crime.

It has been a few years since MPD Inspector Terrance Gordon has been "out on the beat," so to speak, but he has not forgotten where he came from and the way he felt about the people who filled the role he now has.

Terrance Gordon

Terrance Gordon

“In the 70s in Milwaukee, we didn`t necessarily look up to police officers because we were right off that turbulent history in the 60s. Growing up in the neighborhoods that I did and seeing the things in the city that I did, there`s more than one fork in the road," Gordon said.

And that fork didn't always lead to the right road at 16th and Clarke -- one of the poorest areas of the city, then and now.

16th and Clarke

Terrance Gordon

Terrance Gordon

“There are quite a few times in my life I wasn`t necessarily making the right choice and somebody helped me to make it. A teacher, my mom, an older relative that may have not been doing the right thing themselves, but wanted me to and I`m very grateful for that. I wouldn`t be there without the kind of mom that I had," Gordon said.

A watchful eye or set of eyes is what we need more of in Milwaukee, Gordon said. He said he doesn't defend the bad behavior of some of the city's young people. The adults in their lives, or lack thereof, are the real culprits, he said.

“When you see children constantly stumbling, constantly falling down, never going to school, wearing a $200 pair of tennis shoes and they`ve never had a job -- somebody in that kid's life has failed them over and over and over again," Gordon said.

Gordon's own family members going down the wrong path was one of the reasons he wanted to become a police officer.

“I was in the process of becoming a police officer in a different state and I had heard my hometown was hiring police officers at the rate of a couple hundred per year, so I came home to get a job," Gordon said.

Jutiki Jackson

Jutiki Jackson

MPD Inspector Jutiki Jackson never left.

He grew up right around the corner from Gordon. The two did not know one another, but they were raised with similar values by single mothers.

"My grandmother was in the picture and she was very supportive, so there was an expectation for us to do well and treat others with respect and live according to values that were instilled in us," Jackson said.

Jackson wanted to become a firefighter, but a mentor persuaded him to take the police entrance exam. Becoming a hometown officer has its advantages, he said.

Jutiki Jackson

Jutiki Jackson

“Any place we have strong connection to, we want to see prosper and do well," Jackson said.

Jackson said it's important for the community to see African-American police officers, especially now when there have been those who say African-Americans have been unfairly targeted by police, and there are feelings of distrust.

“Police officers go into neighborhoods where they're needed the most. It`s not about law enforcement targeting a specific group. It`s about us trying to make a difference," Jackson said.

Jutiki Jackson

Jutiki Jackson

Jackson said he hopes the 25 years of his life he has dedicated to the Milwaukee Police Department will make a difference. He has earned a prestigious position in an office atop the Milwaukee Police Department Administration Building in downtown Milwaukee -- but he said he never gets too comfortable. He said he spends a lot of time on the street.

“The gangs were different then. If you disagreed with them, they probably beat you up and that would be the end of it. Now, times are much more violent. A stark difference from the neighborhood I grew up in compared to now," Jackson said.

Crime

When he's out on the street now, Jackson said he makes sure officers follow procedures -- something he enjoys very much.

"I actually get to see them at work, see them engaging with the public. Some officers may need a little more motivation and encouragement," Jackson said.

The effort to recruit more minorities to the force is ongoing, according to officials within MPD. Right now, African-Americans make up about 18 percent of the staff at MPD.

Milwaukee Police Department

5 comments

  • BACK THE BADGE

    My theory on increased violence is that there’s so many crumbling lead water pipes it has been slowly damaging the brains of residents (We’re primarily concerned about the prefrontal cortex area as it has to do with impulse control). As the officer stated, what once was a pre-meditated fist fight 20 years ago is now an instant reaction to shoot. Things are definitely happening toxicology wise – statistically the increased senselessness of violence must be from an outside chemical exposure beyond the usual culprits (drugs, alcohol, media). Maybe. For what it’s worth I notice the youth are slurring their speech and limping around more lethargic-like now vs 20 years ago. I don’t know for sure if it’s the lead pipes crumbling or C H EM T R A I LS (not ‘contrails’) in the sky which contain Aluminium and Barium (PROVE ME WRONG – PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS!!!). Not sure what else could be the culprit for increased senselessness of violence. There are serious ramifications to long-term toxic exposure I think we need to address immediately AT THE CRIME SCENES. In any case, the MPD have such a tough job. I trust them with my life, so I hate to suggest imposing more onto them, but they [officers themselves] should be given field testing kits to test for toxic exposure in drinking water when violence occurs at residences. Not leave it up to some federal agency. IF VIOLENCE OCCURS IN A HOME OR SPECIFIC AREA THE DRINKING WATER SHOULD BE TESTED IMMEDIATELY! Also the ground soil should be tested around the homes, specifically for ALUMINIUM AND BARIUM. Or I’m completely wrong, which happens more often than not I assume. I’m no expert in correlations of data, but this is worth at least looking into.

    • BACK THE BADGE

      Forgot to mention: if you check for Aluminium and Barium you need to look at the ‘nano’ size — studies done in other counties show that although these chemicals appear in water and soil, it’s smaller than most standard detectors can pick up on so you need to look for NANO sized particles. Im interested to know if this is true or not — I don’t know for sure but it’s worth a look

    • BACK THE BADGE

      I hope you’re 100% correct. The way I see it is that there is already an acknowledgement by the mayor of lead pipes leaking into the drinking water — and if you look at the sky over time the trails make grid patterns that turn into clouds which have already been shown to cause aluminium and barium exposure. This is a global occurrence – Trump mentioned it and they shut him up real quick, which you can see isn’t an easy thing to do.

Comments are closed.