The Fox Point Police Department continuously works to improve the services provided to the public and encourages the use of professional communications to de-escalate an incident whenever possible. Unfortunately, some law enforcement encounters with individuals escalate and result in the use of force to the level of great bodily injury occurring or leading to the death of an individual. We are thankful these incidents are rare; however, they have a significant impact on the family of the individual, the involved officer, the Department and the community when they do occur. This section of our website is intended to provide a high-level overview of how these matters are investigated and how information is shared with the public.
The priority at all police scenes is the preservation of life. All officers on the scene of a critical incident will work to preserve the life of any injured person(s), providing medical care to the best of their ability within the parameters of scene safety. Once the scene is stabilized information will be collected and an investigation initiated. Officers and investigators from the Fox Point Police Department will continue to investigate the original call for service (if needed and appropriate), while the Milwaukee Area Investigative Team conducts an investigation into the officer involved critical incident.
The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team (MAIT) is comprised of officers and investigators from law enforcement agencies throughout Milwaukee County. MAIT was developed in 2016 and provides an outside investigative body, along with a lead agency as specified in Wisconsin state statute 175.47. MAIT will be responsible for the entire investigation, along with compiling all written reports and providing the final report to the district attorney.
An officer involved critical incident will have a significant impact on the community and the rapid sharing of information will assist the community as it works through the incident. These investigations become complex very quickly and how information is distributed, along with what information is shared, may have an impact on the overall investigation or influence the final outcome(s) prematurely.
The transparency of government activities is protected by Wisconsin state statutes and sharing information after an officer involved critical incident is beneficial to the community as it tries to understand what happened and why. The challenge faced by investigators and agency administrators is how much information to release and when the release should occur. Working cooperatively with the MAIT investigators, information will be provided to the public as soon as possible with the goal of providing information about the event, education regarding police tactics and the status of the case as it moves through the investigative process.
Typically, information will be released in a written format or recorded video published to our social media sites, electronic newsletter, website subscribers and the mainstream media simultaneously.
An officer involved critical incident will trigger an outside investigation, as outlined in state law, as well as an internal review. The Fox Point Police Department policy requires all use of force incidents be reviewed from a training standpoint, as well as an internal review of the officers actions as they are governed by our professional standards. The internal use of force review will be conducted by department trainers; however, the professional standards internal investigation will be assigned to an independent investigator. Depending on the nature of the event, the assigned investigator may be from an outside agency instead of our trained internal investigators.
The outcome of these investigations have varying levels of discipline, ranging from counseling or training all the way up to a hearing before the police commission for possible termination. Usually an internal investigation related to training or discipline will not be completed until the outside MAIT investigation has run its course.
Officer involved critical incident investigations have several moving parts as explained in greater detail on this page. Upon the completion of an investigation, the report is forwarded to the appropriate decision maker for follow-up.
The MAIT investigation will be referred to the District Attorney for review and the consideration of criminal charges. The decision to charge an officer is no different than any other citizen and the district attorney must be able to prove the elements of the crime, as well as consider the state statutes that exist for privilege related to the use of deadly force. (WI 939.48 Self-Defense and Defense of Others)
The internal investigation related to professional standards will be handled by the Chief of Police and the Fox Point Police Commission to determine whether rules of conduct, agency policy, or training standards were properly followed and the appropriate action to take for administrative violations. The Fox Point Police Department has set very high standards for the performance of our staff to meet the expectations of our residents, including ongoing training, agency accreditation, and numerous certified trainers on staff. In the event of a deviation from agency professional expectations the trainers will be utilized to correct minor infractions; however, significant violations will result in discipline up to and including suspension or a hearing before the commission for consideration of termination.