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What is the Fire and Police Commission?

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MILWAUKEE -- After a contentious Fire and Police Commission meeting Thursday night in Milwaukee, some in the community began calling for the commissioners' jobs.

What has them so upset is the Commission's decision to only suspend police officer Richard Schoen for 60 days instead of upholding Police Chief Ed Flynn's recommendation for firing Schoen.

But Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says that even though he has appointed the commissioners, they can't be fired.

"All of them that are currently on the fire and police commission are in a term of office. So my understanding in terms of law, they can't be terminated," Barrett said. "Now there might be a process to doing it. But they all have a term of office."

"I assume that the fire and police commission arrived at their decision based on the evidence and the dictates of their conscience. And that's how it should be and certainly not by succumbing to political pressure or the whims or demands of a mob. And that appears to me what might be occurring here," Alderman Bob Donovan said.

Donovan is part of the process of putting the commissioners on to the Fire and Police Commission as he and the rest of the Common Council either confirm or deny the mayor's appointment.

"There are checks and balances. The mayor makes the recommendation and they are all confirmed by the common council," Barrett said. "But I accept responsibility because these are all appointments that I initially make."

So what is the Fire and Police Commission?

Here are a few details:

The Commission is composed of 1 full-time Executive Director and 7 part-time commissioners, who earn $6600 per year.

They are on 5 year terms that overlap, so that 1 new commissioner is appointed each year by the Mayor.

The Commission is responsible for hearing appeals by those who have been disciplined.

The Commission also is responsible independently investigating and monitoring citizen complaints and for disciplining any employees for misconduct.

They establish recruitment and testing standards for positions in the Fire and Police Departments.

In all, the mayor believes in the process to appoint commissioners and feels it suits the community well.

"I do believe, again, at the end of the day when people look at the full panel that it will be a good representation of our community. And that's very important to me," Barrett said.