LaToya Dennis

News Reporter

LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.

Before coming to public radio, LaToya interned at the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. She also took part in NPR's 2005 Next Generation Radio Project in Kansas City, Missouri as well as NPR's summer 2006 Next Generation Radio Project in Indianapolis, Indiana.

LaToya holds both a Bachelor's degree and a Masters degree in journalism from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Dennis is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Ways to Connect

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Tension remains high between Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and the Fire and Police Commission after it directed the chief to change the department’s pursuit policy. For years, the department has only allowed vehicle pursuits if there’s evidence of a violent felony. As concern over speed, reckless driving and vehicle thefts grow, so have calls to change the pursuit policy.

A six-year-old boy was shot and killed in a hail of gunfire on the north side over the weekend.  Earlier in the week, four people, including two children, were shot at 39th and Burleigh, near the Sherman Park neighborhood. For some community members, that shooting was the last straw—so they called an emergency meeting to look for solutions.

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has been facing a lot of criticism lately. The police chief recently came under fire after it was revealed that he had made changes to the way in which the department deals with immigrants -- without public input or the approval of the Fire and Police Commission. The department and commission reversed many of the changes after public outrage. Flynn has also caught heat over how he wants to spend asset forfeiture dollars.  To some it may seem like Flynn is losing support of leadership, while others say the criticism is unwarranted.

Bob Bach

Budget talks in Madison remain stalled, largely because of disagreements over how to fix a $1 billion deficit in the transportation budget. So Senate leaders put forth a plan Tuesday that they say will move them beyond the impasse. They say it's now up to the Assembly to act. Yet the Senate plan calls for continued borrowing to pay for roads, which has been one of the main holdups in negotiations.

Senate Republicans say the version of the budget they introduced Tuesday makes their priorities clear.

There’s still a huge investment in K12.”

LaToya Dennis

The Milwaukee Police Department and advocates for immigrants have come to an agreement over how the MPD treats immigrants. Earlier this month, the advocates cried foul after news broke about changes made to the MPD Standard Operating Procedure. They argued the changes would make it easier for federal officials to initiate deportation. While an agreement has been reached, not everyone is happy. 

There are about 16 months left before Wisconsin's next gubernatorial election. Republican Scott Walker is expected to run for a third term, but who will be his opponent? Observers have been wondering. And it now appears the race is beginning to heat up on the Democratic side. WUWM spoke with UW Madison political scientist Barry Burden about the jockeying happening right now.

LaToya Dennis

Immigrant rights advocates say the city of Milwaukee has caved to pressure from the Trump administration concerning immigration. The advocates say the Milwaukee Police Department has opened a door that could lead to more deportations. Several groups across the state are now calling for the city to reverse course.

Milwaukee's city hall rotunda was packed on Wednesday morning with people demanding Mayor Tom Barrett stand with the undocumented immigrants in the community. Christine Neumann-Ortiz is executive director of the immigration advocacy group Voces de la Frontera.

Keith Schubert

Several people who have served time at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility are pushing the state to close it. Members of the Wisconsin branch of EXPO, or Ex-Prisoners Organizing,  issued their call at a meeting Thursday at MATC. The organization's president, Mark Rice, says the Milwaukee facility is unfit, plus it mainly houses people who are not there for committing a crime.

The latest numbers from the Marquette Law School Poll are in and they are mixed bag for Republican leaders. Around 800 Wisconsinites participated in the phone survey between June 22 and 25. The margin of error is 4.5 percent. Those were days GOP leaders at both levels were continuing to debate major items – including health care in Washington and road funding in Madison.

CINCINNATI POLICE DEPARTMENT, FACEBOOK

Dozens of Milwaukee leaders and residents gathered at The Wisconsin Black Historical Society on Monday evening to discuss the most effective ways of reducing violence in the city. At the heart of the conversation was Problem-Oriented Policing, a theory that stresses best practices for getting to the heart of crimes while creating viable neighborhoods. Law enforcement experts tout the strategy while community leaders insist more is needed to improve many residents' quality of life.

LaToya Dennis

A federal judge told Wisconsin on Friday that the way it treats incarcerated youth is unconstitutional. Of particular concern is the use of pepper spray, handcuffs and shackles – as well as solitary confinement. 

The ACLU of Wisconsin took the matter to court. The judge ordered the group and the state to submit a plan, in two weeks, to change practices. The Lincoln Hill School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls have been at the center of major investigations, over the treatment of youth.

Photos.com

Across the country and in Wisconsin, the number of youth being held in state run detention facilities is on the decline, according to a study released by Youth First and Urban Institute.

Between 2005 and 2014, the average daily population at Wisconsin run juvenile correction facilities fell by 52 percent. While the numbers are improving, African American youth are disproportionately impacted, making up 70 percent of the population in Wisconsin’s juvenile detention centers.

Courtesy of Mandela Barnes

Update, June 16: 

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department has released dash-cam video from a deputy squad car, showing a longer version of what led up to Sunday's fatal shooting near Bradford Beach. A deputy fired shots into a vehicle that appeared to have been ignoring officers' warnings and attempting to flee along the crowded lakefront. The Waukesha sheriff's office continues investigating the incident.

sauletas, fotolia

The subject of hair was a hot topic among Wisconsin state senators on Wednesday. They approved two pieces of legislation that would eliminate certain requirements for people who style hair. For example, the requirement for continuing education and for instructors to be licensed. Some people see the changes as a way to remove barriers to work, while others worry about potential health concerns.

Monday, jury selection will begin in Milwaukee for former police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown. He fatally shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith last summer. The killing sparked two-days of violence in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

For 48 hours last August, Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood captured people’s attention across the country. What they saw on TV were images of police in riot gear, buildings burning and crowds of angry people. It followed the police killing of a young black man. A few days later, we spoke with community activist Camille Mays.

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