Department Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find our Frequently Asked Questions conveniently collapsed by category for you:

Operations and Practices FAQs

How do UWM Police Department policies address use of force?

  • While most of the UWM Police Department training is aligned with the #8CantWait policy standards developed by the advocacy project Campaign Zero to end abusive policing, UWM’s written policies have been revised to explicitly incorporate each of these standards. New revisions, now in place, include expressly banning chokeholds and strangleholds except as a last resort and when deadly force is justified. The revisions also expressly require de-escalation and the least amount of force necessary, officer intervention and reporting on inappropriate use of force actions by other officers. These policies are published on the UWM Police Department’s website. We will also commit to publishing, annually or more frequently, data on the use of force.

What is the diversity in our department?

  • We understand the importance of reflecting the diversity of our community within our ranks. UWM is addressing this by hiring recent graduates and expanding hiring criteria to seek additional applicants. At present, over 20% of our 43 full-time employees in the UWM Police Department are from historically underrepresented groups. Among the 33 officers, including command staff, 10 identify as women. UWM police desire to apply all possible efforts to further increase the diversity of police officers and staff. To that end, we will invite more diverse faculty, staff and community members to serve on the hiring panels of police officers and seek recommendations for those hiring panel appointments from the advisory group.

Why can’t UWM simply rely on the Milwaukee Police Department?

  • The City of Milwaukee’s police department is often focused on other areas of the city outside of our upper east side neighborhood. Thus, many students and employees benefit from UWM Police Department patrols both on campus and in regions adjacent to campus.

    We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which to live, learn and work. With the UWM police on site and patrolling the nearby neighborhood, the UWM Kenwood campus neighborhood has some of the lowest crime rates in the city.

Why does the UWM Police Department participate in mutual aid arrangements with other police departments?

  • The UWM Police Department participates in the Suburban Mutual Aid Response Team (S.M.A.R.T.). We believe this program, in which all area police forces lend assistance when asked, saves lives and extends limited resources. UWM has provided requested support to other communities at critical times, such as helping during the Sikh temple tragedy in Oak Creek in 2012. The Milwaukee Police Department in particular has provided timely, necessary assistance to UWM police in a number of incidents, such as investigating assaults that occurred in the Kenwood neighborhood, helping with incidents occurring at UWM locations off the Kenwood campus and aiding in serious incidents on the Kenwood campus. Such assistance is critical when our officers are already deployed elsewhere or when our own resources are not sufficient. Without this cooperative arrangement between UWM and other municipalities, we would not have any place to turn to for help if a significant emergency arises without sufficient on-campus resources to manage that emergency.

How much training do UWM police officers receive?

  • UWM police officers receive an average of 135 hours of specialized training per year – more than five times the state requirement. Three-quarters of our officers are trained in crisis intervention, and two-thirds are trained instructors in topics that include threat assessment, criminal investigations, trauma-informed interviewing and sensitive crimes like sexual assault. Training UWM officers to become instructors has been intentional, as it exponentially increases the amount and regularity of training that would otherwise not be available if conducted off-site and at a cost for every participant. All members of the UWM Police Department participate in UWM’s mandatory training, which will include anti-racism and anti-bias training starting in Fall 2020.
    rises without sufficient on-campus resources to manage that emergency.

How is performance management handled in the UWM Police Department? Can police officers be fired?

  • When officers make mistakes, those mistakes are addressed – often first with mentoring, coaching and counseling as well as with higher degrees of discipline, up to and including separation from the department when appropriate. In order to ensure a high standard of policing at UWM, our police officers not only are carefully selected in light of the needs of UWM’s community of students, faculty and staff, but also are held to high standards for completion of their probation and are held accountable for their actions and performance throughout their careers at UWM.

How does the UWM Police Department engage with the greater Milwaukee community?

  • Our officers interact and collaborate with groups in the Milwaukee community at multiple events each year – ranging from training on how to survive an active shooting incident to participation in community groups such as the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, the Urban Ecology Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. The department hosts a forum on policing and community relations during the annual Summit on Black Youth and provides training on active shooters and how to address difficult people for the city of Milwaukee ResCare, Autumn West Safe Haven and Community Advocate employees.

How does the UWM Police Department engage with our campus communities?

  • The UWM Police Department partners with academic departments, student groups and other campus departments and organizations throughout the year.

    We host “Coffee with a Cop” events, at which police department staff are available to answer questions and network with faculty, staff and students. These proactive engagements have resulted in several successful conversations between UWM police officers, students and campus community members over the past three years, including sessions co-sponsored by the following campus groups:

    • African Diaspora Council
    • Black Student Cultural Center
    • Black Student Union
    • Dean of Students Office
    • Environmental Services
    • Greeks Against Sexual Violence
    • Hillel Jewish Center
    • LGBTQ+ Resource Center
    • Military and Veterans Resource Center
    • Panther Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams
    • Southeast Asian American Student Center
    • Study Abroad International Students
    • Accessibility Resource Center
    • Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority
    • University Housing

    In addition, the UWM Police Department collaborates each year with the African Diaspora Council to collect and distribute school supplies to the LaFollette School in Milwaukee. See news coverage here.

Do UWM police officers use body cameras?

  • In 2017, UWM police instituted the use of body cameras for all officers and sergeants working patrol duty. This created transparency and gave the department an invaluable tool for reviewing police calls, training new staff and allowing officers to view themselves and self-critique how they interact with the public.

Body Worn Camera FAQs

What is a Body Worn Camera?

  • A body worn camera (BWC) is a mobile camera worn by a UWMPD police officer used to record interactions with the public when conducting police business.

Why are UWMPD Officers wearing cameras?

  • BWC technology has developed to the point that it is recognized as an effective law enforcement tool.  Police departments nationwide are adapting the BWC’s for their departments.  Some of the proven benefits of wearing BWC’s are:
    1. Officer accountability
    2. Greater transparency
    3. Gathering evidence of the event the officer is investigating
    4. Moderated behavior of people present at incidents

What body worn camera system is the UWMPD using?

  • The department uses the Axon Body Worn Camera system to capture video and their cloud based video management system (vms) Evidence.com to manage the videos that have been captured.  To learn more about the camera, vms, or their other products, please visit their website at www.axon.com

How many cameras does the UWMPD have deployed?

  • UWMPD has had 32 body worn cameras deployed since the end of October 2017.

When will officers be recording with their body cameras?

  • Police officers will activate their body camera whenever they respond to calls for service or have public contacts initiated pursuant to a law enforcement investigation or investigation of possible criminal activity.  The use of cameras is guided by department policy.

Will officers be recording casual conversations with people on campus?

  • No.  Officers will not be recording informal encounters with the campus community.

How do I know if I am being captured on video?

  • The camera worn by officers will be clearly visible.  If the officer is taking law enforcement action and is wearing a video camera, you can assume he/she has activated the video.  You may also ask the officer if his/her video is activated.

Are there places where officers cannot use their body cameras?

  • Typically officers will not record in places where there is an expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, locker rooms, and medical patient care areas — unless there is reasonable suspicion a crime is being committed or the recording of the location is material to an investigation.

What about my privacy?

  • The courts have long held that an individual has no expectation of privacy in a public place.  It is also true that if an officer has a legal right to be somewhere, he/she can also capture video.  This does include private property.  Concern for your privacy is also why we carefully guard the release of the captured video.

If I was recorded, can I review the recording?

  • Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to view the recording, but not at the scene.  A request to view a recording is a public records request. UWM’s Public Records Custodian would determine whether access is permitted under the Wisconsin Public Records Law. Please be advised that such records requests take time to process, and recordings may not be immediately available.

What happens to a video once it is recorded?

  • At the end of each shift, officers will upload the data to a cloud-based service to store the files.  Depending on the type of video captured, data will be saved for a minimum of 130 days or as otherwise required by the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

What is the process for obtaining a copy of a body camera video?

General Department FAQs

I am a patch collector. Can we swap patches, or do you have a patch giveaway?

  • We do not participate in Police Department patch swaps and/or giveaways. Thank you for your understanding.

Can I pay my parking ticket here?

Why is my registration suspended?

Can I get fingerprinted by your department?

  • Yes, under certain conditions. You must be a student, faculty, or staff member and have a fingerprint card handy. We do not hand out fingerprint cards.