Subscribe to newsletter Subscribe

The Beat The Beat

Learning Portal Learning

Learning Portal Archives

Icon Twitter Logo Icon Facebook logo Icon YouTube Logo

The Milwaukee Police Department: High Fives and Pedestrian Safety

The COPS Office is pleased to feature the December 2016 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest—The Milwaukee Police Department. The winning photo features Officer Scott Wieting high-fiving a young man during International Walk to School Day.

Every October, thousands of children and adults around the world participate in International Walk to School Day. The day is intended to raise community and global awareness about walking safety and to promote healthy behavior.1 In the past several years, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) has participated in this day, working with a number of schools in the city.

“Officer Wieting, who has been an officer for seven years now, made a real connection with this young man,” shared Jon Riemann, MPD’s media producer and the photographer who captured this endearing moment. “They were talking about Ninja Turtles and just about everything. When Officer Wieting asked him if he wanted to be his partner, he high-fived him and said yes and so they walked around the block together.”

International Walk to School Day is just one of the many ways the MPD interacts with the community. Chief Ed Flynn stressed that community policing is a philosophy that guides the department, as reflected in MPD’s mission statement:

In partnership with the community, we will create and maintain neighborhoods capable of sustaining civic life. We commit to reducing the levels of crime, fear, and disorder through community-based, problem-oriented, and data-driven policing.2

“Our recruits memorize it,” shared Flynn. “I want to reiterate that community policing is not a set of programs, it’s a philosophy that emphasizes neighborhood engagement.”

The largest city in Wisconsin, Milwaukee is a very diverse city that comes with its own challenges. With a 28 percent poverty rate and high rates of violent crime, community policing is key to its public safety. “Our department is organized around our seven policing districts,” said Flynn, who commands over 1900 sworn officers. “We assign officers to steady beats and sectors and our district commanders are tasked with organizing and developing strong neighborhood and block associations. We have community liaison officers that do full-time what all of our officers do part-time.”

The MPD has received funding through the White House Building Neighborhood Capacity Award to help develop informal social capital for local-based leadership and has been awarded funding through the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation twice.

Though MPD faces a number of challenges related to violent crime, its successes should not be dismissed. “We have strong support from our community, based on citizen surveys captured by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,” shared Flynn. “We’ve also seen a significant decline in complaints over the years.” And with officers continuing to developing positive relationships with Milwaukee’s youth, the future has never looked brighter.

The COPS Office congratulates the Milwaukee Police Department for being one of the 12 winners of the COPS Office 2016 Community Policing in Action Photo Contest and for its commitment to community policing.

Written with contributions from Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and Jon Riemann, Media Producer. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Najla Haywood
Special Contributor
The COPS Office


1" International Walk to School Day," accessed November 15, 2016,

2" Welcome to the Milwaukee Police Department," accessed November 15, 2016,

Back to top

The Milwaukee Police Department: High Fives and Pedestrian Safety| The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice: Improving Police-Community Relations in Six U.S. Cities | On the Beat over the Holidays: In Conversation with Wayne Vincent | The Peacemaker Corps: Promoting Peace, Tolerance, and Conflict Resolution | Private Prisons: Change in Policy and Practice | Social Media: How Police Agencies Are Re-writing the Communications Handbook