Fitchburg mayor stands by new police chief hire, set to start next month

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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FITCHBURG, Wis. (WMTV) - As Fitchburg’s new police chief hire is backed by city leaders, some in the community say he is not right for the job.

Alfonso Morales, formerly Milwaukee’s top cop, is set to be sworn in on Friday, Oct. 15 then start the job the following Monday, according to the City of Fitchburg’s human resources department.

“They decided that he was the best candidate for Fitchburg, and so that’s why they sent him the offer,” Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson said.

Community members like Kierstin Huelsemann, who has lived in Fitchburg since 2019, said she is opposed to the incoming chief.

“I have concerns especially [for] the neighborhood I live in and my neighbors being more affected by these choices and these policies,” she said, adding, “My neighborhood sees police almost every day, so it’s going to be easy to see how that changes.”

The Police and Fire Commission conducted the search for the city’s next police chief and announced Monday Morales will take over the position.

The five-member group cited a hiring process that included a community survey, panel presentation and interviews with community leaders. The members are chosen by the mayor and decide the chief on their own. Richardson said he gave his input.

Richardson said, “I don’t know what was in those reports. I haven’t seen those background reports. That’s something that they do but ultimately it’s their decision.”

Morales retired from the Milwaukee Police Department after being demoted to captain in relation to his handling of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Morales sued the city, saying he was not given due process, and in July, he reached a settlement.

According to Richardson, Morales declined to speak with NBC15. “I think that it’s less than 24 hours since he accepted the position, so I don’t think that it’s unusual or an issue at all,” Richardson said.

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