Tempers flare between MPD, Journal Sentinel over serious crime reporting
Charles Benson reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
MILWAUKEE- Tensions rising and tempers flaring.
It involves recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stories suggesting Milwaukee police are underreporting serious crimes.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn admits human errors were made but he denies any intent to mislead. He still believes Milwaukee is a safer city today compared to a few years ago.
"Our first priority isn't numbers, our first priority is people," said Chief Flynn.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found hundreds of aggravated assaults were downgraded to lesser crimes. Chief Flynn calls it a coding error and a training problem.
"I don't need to make up numbers to prove my cops are having an impact on the quality of life and level of violence in our neighborhoods," claims Flynn.
The chief points to homicide numbers as a sign of improvement.
"We go from a 20 year average of 127 to a four year average of 85. I'm thinking some good policing is going on," said Flynn.
The newspaper says Flynn has never questioned the accuracy of its reporting. It shows violent crime went up slightly, instead of down, as police have reported.
"Over the past four years Milwaukee has reported a decrease in violent crime by 21 percent but the decrease in felonies being prosecuted through the courts has only gone down two percent. There's a disconnect here in the numbers," said George Stanley, Managing Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Journal Sentinel is asking MPD for more crime numbers, but the department wants to charge $10,000 to process the information. That led to a loud verbal exchange when a reporter asked Flynn why?
"I gave you a pointed response," said Flynn.
Flynn believes the reporting errors could date back several years. He blames himself for not having an auditing system.