A fair Spanish translation pay for bilingual officers, police confronting mental disabled victims, residency requirement removed, lack of proportionate rank and file promotions for Hispanic and Afro-Americans to their communities, since Chief Flynn was hired were some of the issues discussed at a south side meeting with Cabrera, a mayoral appointee to the Fire and Police Commission.
By H. Nelson Goodson
July 1, 2013
Milwaukee, WI - On Monday, a diverse group of Milwaukee community members met with Marisabel Cabrera, a mayoral appointee to the Fire and Police Commission. Some of the issues discussed were hourly pay for bilingual police officers who are paid $1 per hour compared to a contracted translation firm that is paid $25 per hour, police confrontations with mentally ill victims, disproportionate promotions of Hispanic and Afro-American police officers to their community populations, since Milwaukee Police Ed Flynn was hired.
Community members and State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milw.) want the Fire and Police Commission to push for more training of officers to handle mentally ill people when called to domestic and other calls. There is currently one bilingual Hispanic officer that is trained to handle situations where a mentally disabled person happens to be the subject of a domestic emergency call. Some members of the crisis intervention team (SWAT) are trained to handle situations involving cognitive disabled persons in crisis. There been multiple police related shooting deaths in the Afro-American community where police fatally shot someone with a mental illness instead of using other alternatives less deadly.
Mike Tobin, the executive director of the Fire and Police Commission said, the bilingual pay for officers is a union contract issue and a city contract agreement with a translation services company. Whether the Latino Peace Officers Association will continue to lobby for officers to get fair pay for providing translation services as other police departments in the country do is a another issue.
Cabrera, an immigration attorney, a Board member for the Council for the Spanish Speaking, also a member of Voces de la Frontera and American Immigration Lawyers Association met with community members at the St. Anthony Keyser Hall, 1730 S. 9th St., which the public meeting was moderated by Alderman José Pérez from the 12th District.
Cabrera says, the community concerns and issues addressed at the meeting "will not be forgotten," especially if she gets confirm by the Milwaukee Common Council as Police and Fire Commissioner. But, she would first have to be approved as a commissioner by the Common Council Public Safety Committee.
Cabrera would fill one of three positions open in the commission, if approved.