About the Milwaukee Police Department
When Milwaukee became a village in 1834, it had a town
marshal; when it became a city, it had a city marshal appointed by the person in power at the time. The marshal was not able
to cope with the lawless element. Thieves, burglars and robbers were finding the rapidly growing Milwaukee a good, safe place
to ply their illegal trades.
The county sheriff tried to keep the city crime down
but did not have enough deputies to handle the crime wave. One of the deputy sheriffs in the year 1851 was Herman L. Page.
He had some success catching a few robbers, and was elected sheriff in 1853. Page knew a farmer named William Beck living
near Granville, and he also knew that Beck had been a detective on the New York police force. Page made Beck a deputy sheriff
and told him to get busy catching thieves.
Beck caught a lot of them, and although his work eliminated
many criminals, lawlessness continued, and citizens began demanding a police force. On September 3, 1855, Alderman Powers
introduced an ordinance for the creation of a police force. The ordinance was printed in the official papers of the city the
next day. The ordinance passed after some amending, and on October 4, 1855, the Milwaukee Police Department began functioning.
Today, the Milwaukee Police Department employees nearly 2000 sworn police officers
and is organized, broadly, into three bureaus: Administration; Patrol and Criminal Investigations.