MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC) released a published report of its independent audit of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Crime Statistics on Thursday, January 3rd. That audit recommends fixes to internal problems -- which is something the department's own audit already found.
The independent audit comes after the MPD was accused of intentionally downgrading crimes in the city of Milwaukee to make it appear the crime rate was lower than it really was -- especially in the area of aggravated assault.
MPD did its own internal investigation and found contributing factors to the inaccurate statistics including the Tiburon Police Records Management System. It found incorrect coding and a problematic system design, plus a lack of training on the system.
Some crimes were incorrectly upgraded to more serious crimes while others were downgraded.
The 139-page report gives a detailed analysis of the police department record management system and the corrective actions that are required to provide more accurate crime statistics in the future.
The report's recommendations include...
- The records unit needs to be properly trained in crime classification and have the final authority when it comes to identifying what corrections need to be made.
- Determine which officers and supervisors continually produce and approve reports with errors.
- Officers and supervisors must receive annual training in report writing.
- MPD needs to eventually replace the Tiburon Police Records Management System.
“Public concerns about the accuracy of the police department crime statistics have been addressed by this comprehensive review. The report details exactly how the errors occurred and what we need to do to fix them. This exhaustive report will serve as a basic template for every police department in the country that has experienced crime data errors. This report provides a way forward in crime reporting for both the community and the Milwaukee Police Department. It’s important for the community to have confidence in the crime data that is published, and this independent audit is a major step in that direction," Michael Tobin, Executive Director of the FPC said.
The audit also concluded that although crime narratives were good overall, there is room for improvement.
The independent audit findings were presented to the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m.
"The audit found there were no intentional efforts whatsoever undertaken by the police department to intentionally alter the crime statistics. There was no identifiable pattern in terms of the district, the officer or the supervisor where these mistakes were coming from," auditor Edward Claughton said.
The audit did find a number of errors in the reporting of crimes mainly due to lack of training and outdated technology.
"Replace the record management system. It is so outdated it's almost from the Dark Ages," Claughton said.
Before this audit took place, and even during the investigation, the integrity of the department was challenged.
"Yes there are issues. I`m grateful that we`ve had assistance identifying that technology is a problem. Hopefully we can work to replace a system that has never worked to the level that the city expected it to. I`m grateful objective review has indicated there were objective problems, not problems that are a result of the agency," MPD Chief Ed Flynn said.
CLICK HERE to view the full Fire and Police Commission (FPC) report