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Milwaukee police chief draws ire for calling UW-Milwaukee students "guests"

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MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - An age-old political argument has Milwaukee’s police chief on the hot seat.

In a letter to a UW-Milwaukee official, Ed Flynn considered students as, “guests, since most do not own property in Milwaukee and they do not directly contribute to the tax base … and as guests, they should be exhibiting appropriate conduct.”

He also defended a beefed-up police presence near the east side campus that netted 100 arrests in the past month.

The campus newspaper, the UWM Post, reported on Flynn’s letter. And it quoted others who disagreed that college students are merely “guests” of the city.

University spokesman Tom Luljak said students who rent apartments and duplexes pay part of their landlords’ taxes in their rent. He said UWM students also volunteer and work in the community and, “Our students contribute directly to the health and vitality of the city.”

The question of whether renters are taxpayers is hardly new. It has come up for years in a host of local debates around Wisconsin.

As far as the Milwaukee patrols, Luljak said the school pays the Police Department $25,000 a year to provide a few extra patrols on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. He said they’re designed to watch for student crimes, and to protect students from things like robberies and assaults.

This is just the latest flap involving Chief Flynn – who’s also been criticized this year for a death in police custody, cavity searches of drug suspects, and the handling of a 13-year-old murder victim’s mother at a crime scene. 

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