Friday, January 4, 2013

Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Approved Consultant Audit Exonerating Police Faulty Crime Reporting

Police department exonerated from reporting misclassified crime data for years.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 4, 2013

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - On Thursday, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (FPC) anonymously approved an audit by the PRI Management Group who released a crime data audit report exonering the department from deliberately reclassifying serious crime to minor crimes. A previous crime statistic report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) found that thousands of serious crimes were wrongly classified as minor crimes to indicate that while Police Chief Edward Flynn was hired, crime had actually reduced, but in fact it rose about 10 percent, according to suspected crime numbers and cases found misclassified. If such crime data identified would be corrected, an increase of crime has occurred while Chief Flynn took office.
PRI Management was paid $25,000 by the FPC for the report, but PRI previously supported Flynn through their Twitter account, including blog posts and criticized the MJS for exposing and reporting the flawed crime data. 
PRI reported that the reclassification of serious crimes to minor crimes were made by poor training, human error and computer problems by police personnel.
Since Chief Flynn was hired, some of the rank-and-file personnel in the department reported to the MJS, that they had been pressured "to mark crimes as less serious." PRI indicated that it found no deliberate attempt through policy or by Chief Flynn to create flawed crime statistics to show lower crime rate while he is in office. 
At least 5,000 serious crimes were either reclassified as minor crimes and some were never reported. The PRI audit report fell short in documenting such crimes that were targeted or in releasing any information regarding those crimes.
Currently, the department has a policy to disregard less priority crime calls and those called in by citizens never get reported or followed up, according to some Milwaukee residents and officers. Thus, keeping a cap on reporting low priority crime calls and crimes deemed not serious to responding accordingly.

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