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James MacGillis Will be the Next Wauwatosa Police Chief

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James MacGillis, a retired Milwaukee police commander who runs a major drug investigation unit known as HIDTA, is the new Wauwatosa police chief. He was formerly director of training for the Milwaukee Police Academy.

The City of Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission voted 4-1 to choose MacGillis at 4:30 p.m. today. Jeffrey Norman, the acting Milwaukee police chief, received one vote.

That decision sets the stage for Norman to possibly become permanent MPD chief if the city reaches a settlement with Alfonso Morales, which it must do by July 12.

All three finalists were current or retired Milwaukee Police Department commanders. David Salazar was the other finalist for the Tosa chief position. James MacGillis will replace long-time chief Barry Weber, who was chief for 31 years and had 48 years of law enforcement experience.


James MacGillis Biography

James macgillis
James macgillis

Wauwatosa released this bio for James MacGillis. He is a retired MPD commander who is currently in a leadership position for a major drug crime initiative called HIDTA.

“James H. MacGillis is the current Drug Intelligence Officer-North Central HIDTA for the state of Wisconsin as part of the national Overdose Response Strategy spearheaded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). He retired in January 2021 as a Captain of Police and the Director of Training at the Milwaukee Police Academy where he managed and supervised police recruit training, in-service training, and specialized training for the Milwaukee Police Department after 25+ years of service.

He has testified several times as a use of force expert and training expert in the areas of officer-involved shootings, the training and delivery of verbalization skills with physical use of force, and in-custody death prevention. He has previously worked in patrol, investigations, training, HIDTA (enforcement), and communications. James has managed many projects related to use of force, narcotics safety and evidence processing, and he consults at a state, national and international level regarding tactics and use of force best practices (Washington D.C, Shanghai, China, and EMS World Conferences).

He is also a co-consultant and co-author of several training manuals that are the state standard for using force and tactics in the state of Wisconsin as a member of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board-Tactical Skills Advisory Committee (2005-2021, 2021-emeritus member). He holds certifications as a Master Firearms and Master Tactical Response instructor along with several other law enforcement training certifications.

James MacGillis is an emeritus Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) research scholar with the National Institute of Justice and has consulted on several research projects with RAND Corp, George Mason University, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (NLFEIA), International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), and IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police).

He holds a master’s degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee focusing on adult education programs. He is also a WI-DOJ Command College graduate and Certified Public Manager through UW-Madison. He has also served in the US Army (active and National Guard) as a combat medical specialist and was the Military Liaison Officer for the Milwaukee Police Department, assisting separating and returning service members and their families during deployments.

Prior to his military service, James grew up in Wauwatosa, having attended Washington and Underwood Elementary Schools, Whitman Middle School, and graduated from Wauwatosa West High School.

In his spare time, he has served as an Executive Board member for Fisher House Wisconsin, is a current board member of the Milwaukee Police Historical Society, is a member of the McKinley Masonic Lodge, and is a member of a local American Legion Post. He is married and has two adult children.”

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