Paul Bucher has found someone to blame for the failure of his marriage —Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn. The news of the past two days has been filled with Bucher accusing Flynn of being solely responsible for the destruction of his family and marriage to local journalist and UWM lecturer Jessica McBride, turning a personal matter into tabloid fodder. Bucher is demanding Flynn step down or that Mayor Tom Barrett fire the chief.
Flynn and McBride admitted in June that they did engage in an extramarital affair, complete with hot e-mails reprinted in the local newspapers. Both parties admitted their culpability and said they were going to return to their respective spouses and work on their marriages.
Luckily, Mayor Tom Barrett and the Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission saw then, and are able to see the important public issue in all this mess — is Flynn doing his job satisfactorily? In one word: Yes.
Barrett has come forward again, as he did in June, in support of his chief, noting that this is a personal matter and that crime has fallen for eight consecutive quarters in the city since Flynn was hired. Flynn has the respect of the majority of his officers and is making inroads with the community by standing up to thugs and criminals, not coddling them or worrying about their low self-esteem. Flynn sees a criminal and deals with the criminal appropriately. That is what Barrett and the citizens of Milwaukee want.
Some have said Flynn has violated the moral code of society and possibly that of the Milwaukee Police Department. They even point to an antiquated law that makes adultery a criminal act, which I dare anyone to cite when the last prosecution for it was. And even though I personally find adultery to be a reprehensible act and morally wrong, cheating on your spouse and breaking up someone’s marriage is not a public matter. It is personal and maybe even spiritual; nonetheless, it is something to be discussed, argued and resolved by the two couples involved.
Bucher says he has proof that Flynn and McBride continued their affair in September, but he isn’t sharing the details. A shadowy “friend” of McBride’s claims that McBride told her of a meeting with the chief, which if the details became public, would get Flynn fired. Flynn has admitted he has been in contact with McBride since the affair was made public in June, but that he has not continued the physical affair. McBride, for her part, has kept her mouth shut on the whole matter.
Bucher would do himself well if he would learn from his wife’s silence. This is a personal matter and has nothing to do with Flynn’s job as top cop in the city. Flynn has exhibited a tough, but fair attitude toward crime prevention and has the statistics to back up his job performance. We don’t fire a businessman who is making money for the company when he has a illicit tryst with his neighbor’s wife; so, we shouldn’t use Flynn’s physical weakness to remove him from a job he is doing well.