Acting Police Chief Jeffrey Norman has long championed the general need for improved community outreach within the Milwaukee Police Department, and at his first public forum Saturday he framed it as the cornerstone of his crime reduction strategy as well.© Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman jots down some notes Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Silver Spring Neighborhood Center from community members as he is being considered for the position of Chief of Police of the Milwaukee Police Department by the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.
Several times, Norman was asked broadly how he planned to approach issues such as violent crime, reckless driving and human trafficking, and each time Norman said the department under his leadership would tackle them in partnership with other community stakeholders.
“My crime strategy is community engagement,” Norman said, later adding: “We are looking for partnerships wherever we can find it. We know that we have trust in some communities, we have somewhat trust in others and none in many others. We’re working on all three.”
Norman spent roughly an hour and a half fielding questions from about 20 residents Saturday morning at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, at 5460 N. 64th St. It was the first of three occasions where Norman will take questions from the public during his application process for becoming Milwaukee’s next permanent police chief.
He is scheduled to appear at a virtual forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and then again in person, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 30 at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co., 224 W. Bruce St.
Norman was invited by the Fire and Police Commission, the police department’s oversight body, to be the sole applicant for the permanent position after becoming acting chief in December 2020. A decision on his candidacy is expected in November.
Norman was publicly interviewed by the commission two weeks ago, when the topic of conversation mostly centered on changing the culture within the Police Department. But Saturday, he fielded more questions about public safety and health issues plaguing residents.
Norman used the department’s traffic enforcement as an example of robust community engagement. In February, the department announced the creation of the Traffic Safety Unit, which targets certain areas throughout the city with saturation patrols.
The unit has since written over 16,000 citations since February, but Norman said the department has been focused on finding alternatives to that kind of enforcement. He said police officials have been involved in an ongoing effort with the Milwaukee Municipal Court to find alternatives to citations, such as diverting an offender to driving classes.
In September, the department announced a partnership with Advance Auto Parts, where police officers will have the option to issue gift cards to the auto store, rather than citations, when they encounter a motorist with a mechanical issue, like a broken taillight.
“Those are the discussions we are having proactively,” Norman said. “We’re not waiting for someone to complain about what’s going on here.”
Norman supports hiring more officers, open to civilianization© Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Jason Stark asks a question Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Silver Spring Neighborhood Center to Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman since the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission are considering him for the position of Chief of Police of the Milwaukee Police Department.
In response to questions regarding rising response times and staff shortages, Norman said he is willing to embrace civilianization in order to get sworn officers in the best positions to serve the public.
The department has lost more than 200 sworn positions through attrition since 2019, forcing it to reevaluate where it places sworn and civilian staff.
He said he’s not afraid to pull officers away from specialty divisions, such as mounted patrol or tactical units, in order to adequately staff district locations, which he called a priority.
Norman said he supports hiring more police officers — an idea that has become more controversial in a post-George Floyd era — for the expertise and training they provide. But he said he is open to growing the department’s program for community service officers, who are unarmed and respond to low-priority calls for service.
“Definitely believe we still have some need for our sworn officers, but (I’m) open to opportunities to reorganize responsibilities within the department for civilians and expanding our community service officer opportunities,” he said.© Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman listens to questions asked by residents and community members Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Silver Spring Neighborhood Center. He is being considered for the position of Chief of Police of the Milwaukee Police Department by the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. Milwaukee.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 'My crime strategy is community engagement': Acting Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman begins a weeklong public forum tour
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/my-crime-strategy-is-community-engagement-acting-milwaukee-police-chief-jeffrey-norman-begins-a-weeklong-public-forum-tour/ar-AAPS3G11886