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Chief Ed Flynn talks tenure, retirement from MPD: ‘I need to de-stress a bit’

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Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

MILWAUKEE -- As the two remaining candidates for interim Milwaukee police chief were set to answer questions from the public at a community forum in Milwaukee Thursday, Feb. 8 -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn was an a separate event at Marquette University, where he got very candid about the criticism he's faced in his tenure.

"In short-term, I think I really need to de-stress a little bit, despite how relaxed I'm appearing," said Flynn.

At a Marquette University event, outgoing Chief Flynn held nothing back on the issues facing the city.

"In this city, the majority of the victims of every violent crime are poor people of color," Flynn said. "I think the biggest connection to all homicides specific to here has been the flooding of our streets with high-quality firearms. They usually find themselves in the hands of people with criminal history."

Milwaukee Police Department

Chief Flynn will officially retire on Feb. 16. On Feb. 8, he addressed the criticism of his tenure -- starting with a lawsuit from the ACLU.

"If you read the entire suit filed by the ACLU, you will see not one word about crime," said Flynn.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

The suit accused MPD of racial profiling. Chief Flynn said in reality, disparity is to blame.

"If you cherry pick the disparity of what we do and where we do it to reduce the disparity of crime...you can say 'well look how biased that is. They're not doing that here in the middle class neighborhood where absolutely nothing happens,'" Flynn said.

Chief Flynn admitted he developed a strained relationship with the Milwaukee Common Council.

"One of my weaknesses in government life is suffering fools gladly," Flynn said.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

When it comes to policy, he explained the decision to pull back on high-speed chases.

"People forget that about five years ago, I had four innocent people killed in five weeks in police pursuits," Flynn said.

The pursuit policy has now changed.

On a more candid level, he said he feels the current search by the Fire and Police Commission for interim chief has become a mess, and that Assistant Chief James Harpole should have taken over while a national and local search was conducted. Harpole on Wednesday, Feb. 7 withdrew his name from consideration as interim chief and said he'll be retiring Feb. 16.

Assistant Chief James Harpole, Inspector Michael Brunson and Captain Alfonso Morales

The remaining two candidates for interim chief -- Inspector Michael Brunson and Captain Alfonso Morales were set to take part in a forum Thursday evening at Mexican Fiesta near 20th and Oklahoma from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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