Alfonso Morales Named Interim Milwaukee Police Chief

Mayor Barrett Downplays Any Controversy About Vote

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales
Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales. Milwaukee Police Department

Milwaukee Police Capt. Alfonso Morales has been named interim chief of the Milwaukee Police Department. The city’s Fire and Police Commission chose Morales on Thursday night with a vote of 4-3.

Morales replaces Ed Flynn, who is retiring.

Morales has most recently been district commander on Milwaukee’s largely Latino near south side. In a brief statement to reporters, Morales, who is Latino, said he looks forward to restoring the community’s trust.

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“That’s one of the primary missions of the police department, and I want to thank you all very much for your support,” Morales said. “We’re committed to the community, and we’re going to show that.”

Some black and Latino activists say Flynn was often disrespectful to them. Morales said he looks forward to working with MPD Inspector Michael Brunson, an African-American who was the runner-up for the job of interim police chief.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Morales knows the community and understands the different cultures of the city.

Prior to Morales being selected by the Fire and Police Commission, some citizens questioned the ballot because Flynn has alleged the commission’s executive director interfered in an internal investigation of a MPD officer and personal friend. Brunson notified the department’s internal affairs division about the officer’s alleged misconduct, leading some to claim the commission would be biased against Brunson.

But Barrett said the commission acted independently in choosing Morales.

“I know they took their responsibility very, very seriously. I also know that anytime you have a high-profile position that there are rumors that are swirling around,” he said. “Welcome to the political world. That’s par for the course.”

Brunson declined comment on whether he thinks the interim chief selection process was fair.

Morales will serve in the interim role until the commission chooses a permanent chief, possibly by later this year.