FBI agent supported by prominent groups for Milwaukee chief job despite lack of public record

By: - December 2, 2020 7:05 pm
Hoyt Mahaley

Milwaukee chief candidate Hoyt Mahaley has spent more than 20 years at the FBI. (FBI)

The only Milwaukee native on the shortlist to be named the city’s next police chief spent most of his career in law enforcement at the FBI — with the result that there’s less publicly available information about his record and history of policing than there is for the other candidates. 

Hoyt Mahaley, who grew up in Milwaukee and attended Rufus King High School, spent the first five years of his career as an officer with the Milwaukee Police Department before joining the FBI. The other two finalists, Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief Chris Davis and Dallas Police Major Malik Aziz, aren’t from the area but have long and public records in the city’s in which they’ve served. 

Davis has been the public face of the Portland police as the department has controversially handled hundreds of days of protests and chaos this year. Aziz was born and raised in Dallas and served in a variety of roles in that department, garnering a reputation with activists of a fair-minded cop who is connected to the community. 

Mahaley’s most prominent work as an FBI agent was his role in setting up a sting operation in the arrest of former NFL player Jamal Lewis in the early 2000s

Despite this lack of public information, Mahaley has received endorsements from a number of prominent Milwaukee figures. 


In mid-November, Mahaley was endorsed by several prominent Milwaukee business figures, including Michael Lovell, the president of Marquette University, and executives with the Medical College of Wisconsin, VISIT Milwaukee and the city’s downtown business improvement district. In October, a group of Milwaukee pastors also endorsed Mahaley. 

“Mr. Mahaley has the right balance of being from here but not immediately of here,” Bishop Darryl Hines, of Christian Faith Fellowship Church, said at a press conference. “His time and distance from our city provides him with refreshing perspective and ensures that he’s not entrenched and beholden to any of the usual political structures.”

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, which is set to vote Thursday to decide who will get the job, has not yet responded to a request sent Nov. 13 for records from Mahaley’s job application.

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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.