South Division High School
Miguel Cornejo- Detective
Milwaukee Police Department
Year-round, first responders’ brave challenges so the rest of us may stay safe. In honor of their hard work and dedication, MPS Alumni would like to honor and celebrate these heroes for selflessly protecting and serving our communities. We honor the courage, commitment, and sacrifices of those in the fire service, law enforcement, and emergency medical services (EMS) communities, as well as our nation’s public servants. Join us in celebrating the Alumni “heroes among us” during these crucial times in our lives.
I was born and raised in the city of Milwaukee. My parents came to the United States from Michoacan, Mexico in the early 70’s. I graduated from South Division High School in 1994. During my senior year at South Division, I was in the Business Careers Program with Ms. Vicki Kalman. Ms. Kalman saw something in me and got me a job at Northwestern Mutual. After I graduated from South Division, I stayed at Northwestern Mutual. I worked part-time there and went to college full-time. This is where my journey started. Sometime between late 2000 and early 2001 my supervisor advised me that the police department was hiring. My supervisor stated that they were looking for bilingual applicants. Since I was going to school for criminal justice, she felt I should apply. I wasn’t interested in applying at first. I never saw myself as a police officer and felt maybe I wasn’t good enough. I applied because I did not want to let my supervisor down. As I went through the process, I kept advancing and eventually started to believe. I was hired and started the police academy in November 2001 two months after the 9/11 attacks.
When I hit the streets in March 2002. I was assigned to District 6, which is one of two districts on the southside of Milwaukee. I was assigned to the southside because I was bilingual and my heritage. The area I was assigned to was predominantly Hispanic. At times, I was the only Spanish speaking officer in the city. I had to work harder than other officers because aside from helping our Spanish speaking residents, I also had to help our non-Spanish speaking residents. My work went unnoticed, and I was asked to apply for a specialty unit that needed a bilingual investigator. I was assigned and worked for the Sensitive Crimes Division for a total of ten years. There, I helped many Spanish speaking victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, child abuse and child neglect. I was recently promoted to detective and was re-assigned to the Sensitive Crimes Division after spending three years at District 2. I have always been proud of my Hispanic heritage. There are now more Hispanic officers in the force, and I like speaking Spanish to them while at work. I’m hoping to influence more people in our community to become public servants. You can become anything you want if you believe in yourself.