Embattled former Milwaukee police chief named finalist for Fitchburg chief

FITCHBURG, Wis. — As former Milwaukee Police chief Alfonso Morales awaits a final vote on his settlement with the City of Milwaukee, he is being named as a finalist for another job in the Madison area.

The City of Fitchburg announced Morales was one of four finalists for its open police chief position Monday after taking part in panel interviews and a community presentation last week.

Morales was demoted to Captain by Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission last summer for his handling of protests following the death of George Floyd, including ordering officers to fire tear gas and pepper spray at protesters. Morales retired instead before suing the city to get his job back, claiming he was not given due process before he was removed as chief.

In May, a Milwaukee County judge ruled Morales should be reinstated as chief unless he reached a settlement with the city. The two sides did reach a settlement in mid-July worth $627,000, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which is scheduled for a final vote by Milwaukee’s Common Council on Tuesday.

Morales’ lawyers declined an interview when contacted by News 3 Now, citing “various balls that are up in the air this week in several jurisdictions.”

Morales and the other three finalists for the Fitchburg position — Madison Police Lt. Scott Kleinfeldt, Cross Plains Police Chief Tony Ruesga, and Salt Lake City Police Capt. Vic Siebeneck — will take part in tours of the city and department next week before being interviewed by Mayor Aaron Richardson and the city administrator.

Richardson says trust will be key for whoever ends up being Fitchburg’s next police chief.

“Trust with residents primarily, but also trust with other city departments, the police department itself, that trust is a really important piece right now,” Richardson told News 3 Now.

Members of the community are invited to ask their own questions of the finalists on Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the IUPAT Training Center at 5375 King James Way in Fitchburg.