Strip Search Scandal

City leaders insist MPD needs to rebuild credibility with the community

CREATED Oct 9, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct 9, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- Reaction is coming in from around the Milwaukee area Tuesday night, following an announcement that four Milwaukee police officers have been charged with crimes after an illegal strip search investigation.

City leaders agree that Milwaukee needs a police department it can trust.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett didn't mince words responding to graphic accusations of abuse and misconduct by officers Michael Vagnini, Jeffrey Dollhopf, Brian Kozelek and Jacob Knight.

"I've spoken to the president of the Fire and Police Commission and indicated to him that I want these officers to be off the payroll as soon is as legally possible," said Barrett at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Barrett told reporters it's important for the police department to have credibility, and right now, it's undoubtedly in question.

"I want to remind every city employee that they have a moral and legal obligation to follow the law and to step forward if they see violations of the law."

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines says the accusations of sexual assault, and illegal strip searches undermine the entire police force.

"There's definitely a cloud over the department, a cloud over the city," says Hines.  But he's confident trust can be restored with appropriate legal action.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan says those accused are innocent until proven guilty.  And he has a message for others wearing a badge.

"This should not reflect on you...Keep doing the good job that you are doing," proclaims Donovan.

Hines says he's working on getting the Fire and Police Commission in front of the public safety committee in light of these charges.