Milwaukee Police Department facing major retirement of officers and supervisors in the next several years.
By H. Nelson Goodson
May 31, 2014
Milwaukee, WI – Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) has learned that the Milwaukee Police Department is facing a major retirement turnover by 2015 and 2016. Between 400 to 600 police officers and supervisors (more than 1/3 of the sworn officers) are expected to retire.
The vacancies expected within the next few years will provide opportunities and promotions to Afro-American and Hispanic officers among the ranks of the department. Minorities rank and file will exceed by 30% from the present disproportionate rank and file in the department, depending on promotions of officers seeking to advance within the department.
In 2011, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) personnel statistics showed that the highest Hispanic ranking police supervisor was Assistant Chief James Harpole (to present), next in line was Deputy Inspector Ramon Galaviz who retired in 2013, and Captain Kurt R. Liebold was the only Latino ranking captain in the department. At least four Lieutenants were named as ranking officers, they are Ruben Burgos (Lt. of Detectives) who retired in 2013, Alfonso Morales who was appointed to Captain in 2013, Alexander Ramirez and David Salazar.
There were only 14 Latino Sergeants, including three women, Lisa M. Gagliano, Vickie Gagliano and Elizabeth I. Ibarra, 17 Detectives, and three Latino Identification Technicians, which two were Latinas, Yvette P. Benitez and Sylvia M. Castro.
There were about 146 Hispanic officers in the department, including 24 Latinas, and at least 37 ranking and officers, including two Latinas serving in the military.
The high ranking Latino officer positions in 2011 were disproportionate compared to more than 2,000 sworn police officers, including high ranking in the entire department, also more than 700 non-sworn personnel, according to the MPD 2011 statistics.
Brief history, in the early 1970’s only one Latino Police Officer was in the Milwaukee Police Department. The officer was Procopio Sandoval who retired as a Detective in 1993. The height requirement of 5′ 7″ (est. 1885) and 5′ 9″ for hiring a police officer under police Chief Harold A. Breier kept many Hispanics from being appointed as police officers by the Fire and Police Commission.
Members of the Latino community led by Jesus Salas, Marla O. Anderson and others in the early 1970’s protested the height requirement in front of Chief Breier’s office claiming it was discriminatory. The Fire and Police Commission height requirement kept most Hispanics from joining the police and fire department, which Salas and Anderson claimed it discriminated Latinos because of their height. The Hispanic community was being defranchised and unable to have members from the community appointed to the department in order to serve their community, according to the protesters.
After several protests, the Commission lowered the height requirement, thus paving the way for Hispanics to join both the Milwaukee Fire and Police Departments.
Marla O. Anderson passed to eternal peace in 1984.