National Police Woman Day Q&A with Chief Edith Hudson

Edith Hudson, chief of the Marquette University Police Department, leads over 80 public service officials and is also a valued member of Near West Side Inc.’s Safety Working Team. On National Police Woman Day, we acknowledge Chief Hudson and all female police officers around the country for their dedication and service to our communities. 

In a brief Q&A, Chief Hudson discussed her law enforcement career, role within Near West Side Partners’ Safety Working Team and Near West Side favorites.   

What drew you to a career in law enforcement? 

I wish that I could say I had a desire to do this since I was a child, but that is not exactly what happened. I was looking for a career and a position became available within the Milwaukee Police Department. I had a family member tell me that I couldn’t do the job and that sparked the fire within me to prove that person wrong. 

I’m the oldest child and the oldest grandchild, so I was familiar with leadership. The true motivation was being told that I couldn’t do it. 

How do you find it overseeing such a large and diverse community?  

I don’t see it as a challenge, but I see it as a reward to work with such a large collection of stakeholders in Milwaukee’s Near West Side. Businesses, community organizers and residents come together to make the Near West Side the safest area possible to live, work, play and stay.   

Could you explain your role within Near West Side Inc.’s Safety Working Team?   

I am the facilitator of the group so I, with the assistance of all our other partners that work with Near West Side Partners, bring business owners, others that work for businesses and especially the anchor institutions together to talk about what we can do to address safety concerns. During our meetings, we discuss crime data and how safety involves more than crime alone.

We are currently working on a safety camera initiative. We think that this will be very helpful, not just forensically for law enforcement, but also, we hope to use it as a deterrent and find other uses for it that we have not figured out now. We can use these cameras in a way that helps our community to feel safe and helps us to deter any criminal activity or disorder. 

What has the Safety Working Team accomplished? 

Our connection with the community has grown tremendously over the years. There is a special touch that the Ambassadors and others from Near West Side Partners and our police officers provide who patrol this area. 

How can the general Marquette University population assist in the efforts of the Safety Working Team/police force?   

Get involved! When there’s a clean-up, join it. Also, support the Near West Side businesses.  

When you feel anything out of place, call us at MUPD or call MPD. It is important to say something if you see something.  

Aside from your role, how do you engage in the Near West Side?  

Outside of work, I love to support the Near West Side restaurants. Daddy’s Soul Food and Triciclo Peru are great. 

How does your force work to bridge Marquette and the Near West Side?  

We focus on root cause issues like homelessness, domestic violence and mental illness. These are drivers for community disorder. The resources in Milwaukee’s Near West Side are rich, but people need guidance toward the resources, and we are working hard to make those accessible.   

What is your favorite element (art, restaurant, park etc.) of the Near West Side?    

Murals and artwork are so prevalent. I love Marquette and our mural of the women (North facing wall of Holthusen Hall, W. Wisconsin Ave.). I think it is one of the most powerful things. Every time I walk by it just gives me joy and I smile at the display of powerful women.