‘I don’t make complaints anymore:’ Building trust the focus at MPD town hall

Lois Sneed

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales on Wednesday, Sept. 19 hosted a town hall meeting hoping to build trust with the community -- something he's admitted is lacking. He didn't stick around for most of the meeting, where he spent 30 minutes answering mostly prepared questions, before we were told he had to leave due to prior commitments.

Lois Sneed, on hand for the town hall meeting at the Washington Park Senior Center said she lost trust in MPD years ago.

"I don't think a lot of us citizens make complaints anymore. I don't anymore. When I did call about a burglary that was happening right next door, when the officers showed up, they announced to the neighbors 'she called.' Well, a couple days later, I got a Molotov cocktail at my back door," said Sneed.

Dawn Heibler said she trusts change is possible.

"There's too many killings, too many police chases and too many people dying," said Heibler.

Heibler said she witnessed a drug overdose Wednesday morning. By afternoon, she said a pursuit ended in a crash in her neighborhood.

"Something needs to be done to change this," said Heibler.

MPD Assistant Chief Ray Banks

Assistant Chief Ray Banks admitted there's work to do when it comes to strengthening trust.

"What we're trying to do is improve police and community relations. As you look around the country, police and community relations are strained everywhere. We want to mend the fences. Change is not going to happen soon. It's not going to happen overnight, but we're certainly trying to drive that change now," said Banks.

Chief Morales answered mostly prepared questions.

"You might not like what I'm going to tell you. Believe me in this, that I will be honest with you. That is my vow to you," said Morales.

Milwaukee Police Department

Chief Morales took two questions from the audience, but those in attendance were allowed to write down concerns or questions to be passed along to the department.

Two more town hall meetings are planned, but dates and times haven't yet been announced.