FPC publishes annual report of MPD firearms discharges

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee's Fire and Police commission has published its annual analysis of all firearms discharges by MPD in 2012.

"We are publishing this report to increase community trust and help people understand the circumstances of officer-involved shootings. This is another step taken toward the goal of ensuring that deadly force is the only appropriate and necessary option in every instance that is utilized," FPC Executive Director Michael Tobin said in a statement.

Some highlights of the report include:

  • a one-year decrease of 47% for officer-involved shootings
  • implementation of a more stringent review process
  • a significant decrease in unintentional firearms discharges (seven incidents in 2011, only one last year)
  • recommendations for improvements in dog-related police encounters (down by 24% from year to year)

This report was formally presented at Thursday evening's Fire and Police Commission meeting at City Hall.

The report shows homicides in Milwaukee are down more than 20% for the first part of the year.

"The Police Department works very hard to reduce crime in the city - especially violent crime. We've invested a significant amount of resources into training our officers in using good discipline in the field," Assistant Chief James Harpole said.

However, the report also highlighted a problem: an increase in the number of dogs that were killed.

According to the numbers from the FPC, New York police officers respond to more than seven times as many calls involving dogs as their Milwaukee counterparts. The two departments had to use their weapons during those calls about the same amount of times. However, more than twice as many dogs died in Milwaukee when a weapon was used.

"Circumstances are different in every city but I think comparing Milwaukee to Milwaukee is the best way to look at the data," Assistant Chief James Harpole said.

Assistant Chief James Harpole told the Commission MPD is already training its officers in ways to reduce dog deaths.

"At least 60 of our officers have had some recent training with regards to animal cruelty and coming upon animals in their jobs," Assistant Chief James Harpole said.

Harpole highlighted the work the department has done to reduce officer weapon use and lower the city's murder rate.

"The outcomes of our recent training has been effective based on the numbers you see in the report," Assistant Chief James Harpole said.

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