Detective Alfonso Morales
Milwaukee (WI) Police Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Detective Alfonso Morales of the Milwaukee Police Department as its Officer of the Month for February 2004. Lieutenant of Detectives Morales is currently assigned to the department's Intelligence Division.
During his ten years with the Milwaukee Police Department, Morales has received countless commendations, including the Resolution and Commendation for Heroism by the Common Council of Milwaukee, the Resolution and Commendation for Bravery by the State of Wisconsin, and the Officer of the Year Award by the Milwaukee Police Association.
Shortly after receiving his degree in Criminal Justice from Wisconsin's Carroll College in 1992, Alfonso Morales began his career as a patrol officer in the Milwaukee Second District. He was soon assigned to the district's Special Car, where he became an invaluable source of information regarding criminal investigations. By late 1996, Officer Morales was transferred to the Narcotics Unit within the Vice Control Division and quickly established a reputation as the "go to" investigator, serving as the lead investigator in several of the county's largest narcotic cases. In early 2000, Morales received his Detective shield and was reassigned to the department's Homicide Division.
In December 2001, Detectives Morales, Donald Brown, and Timothy Heier were assigned the case of Amon Rogers, a Milwaukee citizen who was killed during a failed robbery attempt. By February 2002 their investigation led to an arrest of the suspects, the recovery of the weapons used in the shooting and the personal items taken from the victim. With a trial date set for May 2002, this case was all but closed.
Shortly before Laron Anthony Ball went to trial for armed robbery and the felony murder of Amon Rogers, it was learned that he would attempt to disarm a courtroom deputy, forcing the deputy to shoot him or allow his escape after the verdict was read. As a result, the trial was moved to a more secure courtroom, and court officials sought extra security precautions. Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputies Michael Witkowski and Andrew Halstead were tasked to provide additional security.
Detective Alfonso Morales was present to assist the Assistant District Attorney in presenting the State's case. When the "guilty" verdict was read, the defendant stood up, shouted an obscenity and ran in an attempt to escape through the courtroom windows. Members of the jury scattered in panic and ran for cover. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Detective Morales immediately moved to corner Laron Ball, taking him to the ground with the help of Deputies Witkowski and Halstead.
As he continued to struggle with the officers and his attorney, Ball grabbed one deputy's service revolver, discharging it through the holster. The shot struck the deputy in the right thigh. The other deputy lost control of his weapon when the suspect bit into his arm. Detective Morales, armed only with his off-duty pistol, moved toward Ball and fired two shots, striking him in the right flank and abdomen. Detective Morales' pistol was then rendered inoperative, making him vulnerable in his defense against Ball. His knowledge of proper anti-stovepipe tactics enabled him to he successfully return operation to his pistol, but he remained in harm's way, as Ball moved to attack. To secure the safety of those in the courtroom, instead of seeking cover, Detective Morales advanced toward the armed defendant. He fired two more shots, finally incapacitating Ball.
Detective Morales' proven ability to remain in control under extreme pressure and successfully employ police tactics undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and the possible death of those in the courtroom. Throughout his career, Detective Morales has demonstrated courage, dedication, selflessness, and exemplary professionalism; during the events of May 29, 2002 he truly showed the depth of his commitment to serve and protect.