Doughnuts, coffee, and guns.
These items may not seem to have much in common, but they are all part of the stereotypical police officer on duty’s daily routine. And now it can become the routine of those retired from the force as well.
Retired Milwaukee police officers now can carry concealed weapons under a new law approved by the Fire and Police Commission Thursday evening.
Milwaukee County Police Chief Edward Flynn had called for the Fire and Police Commission to approve the practice, which it did unanimously.
Milwaukee Police Department officers have supported the law because citizens in 48 other states can carry concealed weapons with relative ease, and Milwaukee officers feel they should also have that right when they retire.
Until last week, Wisconsin and Illinois had remained the only two states in the U.S. not to allow any form of concealed carry of weapons, even for retired officers.
Retired police officers have wanted to be able to carry concealed weapons for years in Wisconsin but have been unable to since 1871, when the state placed a ban on the practice.
Scott Campbell, a criminal prosecutor in Milwaukee, said if anyone in Wisconsin should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon, it would make sense that trained law enforcement was allowed to do so.
Campbell said he believes the statewide ban on concealed weapons may not hold up much longer, especially after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June ruled against blanket bans of concealed carry in Illinois.
Michael Krzewinski, a retired police officer of 33 years and assistant adjunct professor of social and cultural sciences at Marquette, said he believes it’s smart to allow retired police officers to carry concealed weapons.
“Each officer has hundreds of hours of training in the use of firearms and deadly force,” he said. “It is a shame to let that go to waste upon retirement … These retired men and women never lose the ‘eye’ for seeing criminal activity.”
Krzewinski said you can never have too many people on the lookout for danger, especially when these people are retired and basically free patrols.
On the other hand, he warned the city should be careful about people making mistakes or abusing the policy, which he said has a low occurrence in cities which require a permit.
Officers who choose to take advantage of the new law will be required to take training once a year to stay up to date with their skills, as well as pay a $100 registration fee to help keep the misuse of concealed weapons low. The law will only apply to officers who have left their agency in good standing and have no felonies on their record.
Stephen Duckhorn, current employee of MPD and the Republican candidate for Milwaukee County sheriff, said he believes retired officers are more than qualified to legally carry concealed weapons.
“When you pull out a weapon there are all kinds of decisions to make, but I am comfortable with retired officers carrying concealed weapons,” Duckhorn said. “If you’ve been on the force for, let’s say 25 years, I think you’ve earned the right to say that you know how to handle a weapon.”