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Three other hearings held under the auspices of the community relations Social Development Commission brought forth further testimony by other witnesses. According to The Milwaukee Journal Police Chief Harold a Brier said the charges that had been raised by the hearings were groundless and that the commission was conducting a kangaroo court. He said and we quote necessary force is used when a person resists arrest. The usual outcome is that the individual charges police brutality. Our investigators have shown that the charges so far have been groundless. End of quote. The hearings he added were being held just to Harris all authorities and no good purpose could be served by them. On the other hand Alderman Ville Phillips who had served as chairman of the hearings told us in a telephone conversation that the hearings had indeed served a useful purpose. I don't like to think that's a good thing to say. And as you know many here have been writing to. Us and that's
a. Great area that I'm going to make it. And I think that I think. I think at the hearing they did accomplish that. I think if we have allowed the public to be. I think the public and I don't mean anything I mean great they're wonderful you know. It appears to be anything we can back in there. It's good I think it's fair and I think. Late last year Ralph Johnson of the state stations was able to obtain an interview with Mr
Richard artist and then the community relations specialist by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. They discussed many of the issues that had arisen in the interviews with inner city residents. Mr artisan began their conversation by describing his job as community relations specialist. Well all of this is a new position with the firemen police commission and it has basically three functions. Recruitment and establishment of lessons programmes and also complaints which are received by the fire police commission. I think a lot of people have the idea that this job was created after the disturbances in August is that sure enough and normally that's not true. The jump was actually proposed in 1966 the first that I know about it. It was proposed by the Human Relations coronating committee or commission here in the city and then later
the mayor gave a speech to the budget examining Committee and also proposed the same type. So it actually started in 1966. First the examinations for the job were all conducted part of the time. We had our travel this summer but the job was in fact filled by you shortly after the trouble. Yes that's great. What in your view are the main problems relating specifically to your job and can police community relations in the walking. Well I haven't gone into police community relations programs as such because as I pointed out before the job is divided into three categories three main areas of interest and the one dealing with the recruitment is where I am at the present time. I hope that we can get some programs off the ground in early spring.
And other recruitment. What is this entailed specifically. Well at the present time. We have approximately 2000 manned police department. With a one hundred fifty six vacancies and we would like to fill those vacancies. In on the part of this problem Lou is that we are trying especially to interest negroes in joining the department out of the numbers that I mentioned that we have somewhere between 35 and 45 people offices which is a very small number. And we would like to improve that. Are there any other specific programs what you have in mind or which will be set up to present time. You mean in the area of community relations right. Yes I have some in mind but I'd rather not comment at this time. They would require cooperation further study with people in
the police department would be involved. Do you think that any of these programs will soon or eventually involve any changes in the actual police department procedures either internally as far as promotions mechanisms or so on or externally as far as community relations. You know it's difficult to say what effect it will have to do internally or externally externally we certainly hope that. Conditions or relations are improved but. It's not designed to stand police community relations problems they are long range things. You don't change attitudes and beliefs overnight but we have to start somewhere. You're speaking I trust of both police and community attitudes and I'm sure. You feel it. Generally speaking the police department gets a fair press or a good press. Well part of the problem in the. Police
recruitment I'll say on the country and on this early here is that. Whenever a police action our police function is newsworthy. Quite often it is something to which you see the police officer at his worst who might see him doing something that is unpleasant but required and good things are considered routine routine things are not newsworthy. The way they set up presently. If I have time I'd like to mention just one example of what I. You're like oh we're fifth district. We have Captain Kramer is in charge over there and he called me one day shortly before Howard Dean asked me if I wanted to go with him that he was going to march with the Boys Club parade Lavarnway unit or from center 15 center in the city and I was on with him. And
he marched on for the entire parade route. He talked with the children. He was just wonderfully directed triad because he helped pick up barricades and follow along the way he did. Any one of a number of things which he did not have to do he did have had other men under him perform these functions but he said that he wanted to walk with the kids and get to know them. And of course there was no press. During this entire the Romulus and March. So these things are. Or something like that is what I consider. Showing the other side of police work but it's not newsworthy. According to stand here now. But that's not to what you say this kind of an incident would be unusual or is there a lot of this kind of work going on. I think there's a lot of it but it's just considered is when a policeman does something right was considered as being part of his job. And then when he does something wrong
but often you. Can see something else. What sorts of things do police occasionally do which you mentioned are wrong. Sometimes errors of judgment under tension are there other things. Well that could be part of it. Police officers are human beings. They just have the word believe the forms you get special training in any specialty. And there are some things which I heard about some things that I seen on television myself. And this is not this is again isolated to no more people in Madison the university in Lake Geneva. For a lot of the you know all of these places they frequently have. Disturbances which are newsworthy because of their size and scope and whose job is it to try to maintain order to the policeman. And it's difficult.
Is it impossible to do without overstepping the bounds. The use of force. In this well in some of these old order maintaining situations. Is it possible for a police officer to maintain order without going beyond what would be called reasonable force. That depends on the situation down. One thing that I do my salute with one of the Monday morning quarterback stars whose situations would be concerned because it is easy to sit back and say later what you were would not of done but if you were on the spot your actions might be totally different. It's desirable to have whether or not it's always possible. I've been working in the Corps now for about three months a couple days a week as I mentioned talking with quite a variety of people and I must say that there seems to be among.
The people I've talked to very real fear and distrust of the police department. It's almost universal negro or white or old or young. And very it's a to me it's a very dangerous and a very sad situation. I'm sure you're aware of this. Oh yeah. I'm also aware of a recent Harris survey poll. I don't recall the figures right now but they were they surprised a lot of people and they looted Negro people in the survey and it showed that since 1965 when we first started having major trouble in the large cities at least fav for our appreciation for the police officers job has actually increased. I don't recall the actual city where this was conducted. But I have it among my papers somewhere. And as far as. Well our other unpleasant thing we hear quite a bit about
this area police brutality then fortune. Think about complaints when a complaint. Is that the complaints are unfounded and yet they circulate in the community by word of mouth and there's no way to review what is said. From one person to another party or something like that when it comes down to actually prove presenting proof before the crime police commission these things go wanting. I've had people tell me certain things and then when they were advised to come to the fire police commissioner they would say OK I'll be there. I ain't seen him yet. But still the same people on their friends are saying that things do exist and they are true. Also I'd like to point out. Federal Bureau of Investigation opened fire on us some time
ago to the International Association of Chiefs of Police and we did a study on these police brutality complaints and they reviewed 4700 and 55 cases across the country of alleged police brutality. Out of that number there were indictments we try and in 41 cases in out of that 41 there were 10 convictions. So this would indicate there's a lot more small fire in the area of police brutality. But I lost a lot more now even 10 out of four thousand seven hundred fifty find that it's doing too many. It's not the ideal situation. Indeed and of the stories which I get from people which are credit almost daily in various papers if even 10 percent have some truth why it seems to me it's a bad situation. I'm sure you'd agree with or use. A number of the complaints that I've heard. Relate to
specific actions but they relate even more to it a feeling of a bad attitude. Tough guy with a stick and protecting the Negro people I've talked to feel it been looked down on and. They don't want to be called boy or any other name. And there's a very strong feeling of resentment. Do you think this is a real problem here or is it half of it in the minds of the people who are being approached by police. Well it's difficult to say I mean you know as far as what I believe in one night you know yes. I would just walk if I was going to guess I mentioned a guess that. There is some fault on both sides. I would also like to point out and I'm leaving. Police officers. Suffer in general when you do things which are regrettable
and I would say that if those situations do exist so that they're definitely in the minority. But it's easy to identify police officers because of the blue uniform. And this is the same. I didn't look Asian. Our race is where we need to be identified because of the color of their skin and the shape of their eyes or something like that when it's easy to direct a prejudice towards them and of course. As I said I think some of this is true when talking about police officers. Well the structure of the fire and police commission work is I don't believe as well as it should be no pressure to explain it and there is something related to it as far as actually making complaints effective and getting them to your office. Yes the fine police commission is not as many people believe the police and. Fire department brass there are civilian members who have been appointed
for five year terms. They are appointed by the mayor and each. I believe it is each July it rotates in such a manner that another vacancy is created. Also the German ship of that commission rotates and. As I said before it's a group of civilians or no members of the fire or police department on the commission is the group whose chairman has Mr. George it's a cart. You know he was German Last year Mr. Richard Clarke is the chairman this year. And how the citizen has a specific complaint go about us now. Where would he go who would he talk to on the way forward. Well you can count to serving six to four hundred which is the prime police commission. Phone number lose meetings there are normally two meetings per week per month. I mean on Thursday night at eight o'clock and
then there's a regular Commission fined police commission meeting on the first floor in the safety building that is open to the public. Yes they're all public. So a person could simply appear at one of these meetings or call this number that you just mentioned 2 7 6 to 400 to find the day he hears and hear with the complaint will be dealt with by the fine police commission. Do they have they had a regular series of complaints or do they get very few while since I've been here there have been no complaints presented to the commission. Could part of this be because people are simply ignorant of the procedures to use to make such a complaint effective and could be the reason. Do you know he's no way of telling why something doesn't happen. Well many reasons but they could be one of the.
Major reason on my resume. Well the reason I mention that is what the number of complaints that float about by word of mouth. It would seem strange that not one had come to their Commission's attention and that surely some of that must be a result of ignorance of. The existence of the commission. Possible small it's possible but as far as the number of complaints are. Think five or six before the commission. That's right that was the hearings that a number of us please contact me during this time five or six years. That interview with Mr. Richard artisan was recorded several weeks ago at his office in Milwaukee safety building. Wednesday February 21st Mr. Edison resigned from the position of community relations specialist for the Milwaukee Fire and
Police Commission. In his letter of resignation he made a number of recommendations about his job. Among these were the suggestions that separate community relations specialists be hired by the fire and police departments and that the job for which he was hired be devoted solely to recruitment. Artista noted that when we quote community relations programs are not the same as mere public relations programs they require the involvement cooperation and assignment of uniformed personnel who are committed to their implementation and success in as much as I have subsequently discovered that they fire and police commission has no policy making or decision making authority with respect to the operations of either the fire department or police department. It is suggested that serious thought be given to relinquishing the community relations aspect of this position to the respective departments where they can be developed and controlled within their own chain of command. End of quote.
Although artisans job description had included three duties job recruitment improving community relations and handling citizen complaints his activities were confined mainly to recruiting new citizen complaints against the police were brought before the commission during his tenure. Here it should be noted that there is a 1919 legislative requirement whereby police complaints may be filed only by property owners. That requirement which is part of state law appears in the charter of the city of Milwaukee under Chapter 9 Section 29 18. The wording of that section indicates that only we quote reputable freeholders that is to say property owners can submit complaints about the police. That requirement is currently being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union on the grounds that it denies equal protection of the law as guaranteed under the Constitution. Further the chairman of the Wisconsin Equal Rights Commission has requested the attorney
general's opinion on whether this ordinance is constitutional. Another legal problem has been pointed out to us by a member of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. He noted that the structure of the police and fire departments as laid down by the city charter precludes any operational control by the commission he referred to the city charter Section twenty nine twenty two. And we quote the chief engineer of the fire department and the chief of police said city's Shelby the head of their respective departments and she'll have power to regulate said departments and prescribe rules for the government of its members. The chief of police shall be responsible for the efficiency and general good conduct of the department under his control. And of quote. In other words it's the chief of police and not the fire and police commission that has operational control over the department. Whenever the legislative reasons for it the citizens of Milwaukee's inner core feel the
distance between themselves and their police department and are eager to lessen that distance. A policeman now in an area like this it's almost it is so darned important for him to get to know the people and not just see a white face driving up and down. And I patrol car but to really get to know the people. Because I can remember when I was a kid they had what they call a Police Athletic League and most of these cops sponsored a softball team or a football team or something so you knew you actually knew who the policemen were coming around the area. But nothing more. And this is too important to care I actually I was saying that it's most important enough to pay a guy time when I have the book coming out and meeting him with me when I was running when I was having a wider BCA.
They had the pally you know logically and the police were very much a part of the community I mean the kids all liked them and we had conferences at the Y W We always had a policeman come. And we did that for the reason that so many people had come from places where the police were just. You know I mean the police were just against Negroes period. And I realize that many times when we were having anything and most of the children at all not just the police as well that's not doesn't make sense. And so the police were always. Willing to come and did come and they had the power leaves which were very good because and the relationship was much better than it is now. We had to go over. When I was a North County officer used to come through the area and these kids loved him. He'd stop and play with. Every day about the same time used to just run all of them and hang on and everything else. I guess what happened was during this time this is during the school boycott
and he was telling us that he would get a lot of heat because they had seen him around and run the Senate. And finally they just put so much pressure on me quick. And since that time there's been no one that's been walking through that project this guy could walk for the project you know stop and play basketball and talk to the fellows and they all know he was only there about six months he's gone we have no system for law and I don't know respect for the NRA because. You speak has been given out Rubini map looks. That I don't think will power the citizen's home but some of our allowable. Policy makers I would say that the present pilots make some of those who are doing the right thing when they were making many of the pilots for the city 18 20 years ago.
We fly. That and catching up to us more than the. Group of politician that we have now came to separate the gap growing too wide between citizen I think that here let the police department is too far away from the. Apt thank me but I break the relationship could be improved. That should be a. Communication between the negro and the police department. I mean that not only go for the new girl but it goes for. All of the minorities there even for do. They do quite well on the lower end of the ladder. We said a great truth. You see here years ago we we had a much better relationship. With.
Those in power one so hard to reach when you had a complaint. You could be chief. You didn't have to desert you do you tell the chief deputy Yeah but no you don't. So easy to do. Now you know take a man or woman ought to be to if you think he'd been bad he had to tell a story to someone and no one believed in me become thirsty car residents not that they would like to see a more Negro policeman in the neighborhood. They generally agree that the man on the beat is the all important factor in their relationship with the police. I don't think it's any worse probably knows and the cops are that way. High school graduate out. And you're given to someone else solely for our course in human relations which doesn't teach him a damn thing. And he's confronted with these
problems and heck he's just not he's not able to court where you go. You've got people who are supposed to know how to work in this area who can't cope with it. So how can he cope with the thing about cops is that always. But I've always felt. The training is inadequate and the pay is inadequate and so when you when you have adequate training and equipment and adequate pay you're not going to get the type of person that you need you almost need a guy who has a background of sociology or psychology you know to be you be a policeman but then you want to pay a man or $10000 a year for taking a risk. We're asking the police officer to do today is more than we asked a police officer to do 25 years ago and I think we're asking for a different kind of training and I just think we're asking for a different kind of man. I think we're asking for a person that will have a much greater emphasis
on human relationships and social relationships and understanding of cultural differences. I think he has to be. Not only guardian of the peace but he has to be a person that they can interpret. The other the other parts of society to people who are they had little or no relationships with this other aspect of society. And I think this is a damn difficult job to do. And I think that and until we begin to create the truly professional policeman and cap and say to him. Until that time arrives I don't think we're going to have the kind of we're going to be able to provide the kind of service
that is needed. You've been listening to an examination of the relationship between the people and the police. Again we emphasize that our efforts to enlist the cooperation of the Milwaukee police in this examination met with no success. We were consequently unable to achieve the balance we had hoped to provide. This program was drawn from interviews made in Milwaukee and was produced by Beth Alperin and Ralph Johnson. This is again almost speaking the preceding was produced at W A.J. the University of Wisconsin. This is the national educational radio network.
The inner core: City within a city
Part 3 of 4
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Edited re-release of Series 68-34, concerning urban area of inner Milwaukee and its problems.
Social Issues
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-Sp.2-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:05
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Chicago: “The inner core: City within a city; Part 3 of 4,” 1968-09-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
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APA: The inner core: City within a city; Part 3 of 4. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from