WAUWATOSA - The ACLU of Wisconsin today sent a letter to the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission urging it to guarantee an open and inclusive process in the selection of the next Wauwatosa Police chief, as Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber has announced his plan to retire later this year.
The letter pointed to the past year of frequent demonstrations and protests in Wauwatosa calling for reforms to the WPD, including to its leadership and culture, and for the firing of Officer Joseph Mensah, who, while on duty, shot and killed three people over the last five years.
“It is clear that WPD must reset and repair its relationship with many community members, in particular with community members of color. The hiring process for the new chief is an opportunity to start this work,” the letter stated.
To ensure that transparency and community input, the ACLU of Wisconsin urges the Wauwatosa PFC to hold a national search for the new chief, engage community members in the process of interviewing candidates, publically announce the finalists for the position, and, as the City of Milwaukee has, hold public interviews for finalists in which community members can submit or ask questions.
“Wauwatosa residents deserve a hiring process that is transparent and centers those communities most harmed by police misconduct and over-policing,” said Tomás Clasen, Community Engagement Manager of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “In order to rebuild the relationship with the Wauwatosa community, the next police chief should play an integral role in changing the culture within the department, and it is important that whoever assumes this position be receptive to the demands community members have been making and takes them seriously.”