A cop and an ex-convict in Milwaukee — once sworn enemies — came together to do something good, and formed a surprising bond in the process.
Ray Robakowski, a retired Milwaukee police officer, spent 10 years determined to keep drug dealer and gang-banger Jacob Maclin behind bars. Maclin and Robakowski knew each other well but were mutually disgusted with each other. Maclin had been arrested so many times that his mugshots chronologically show him aging.
“I wasn't a social worker, I was a police officer,” Robakowski said. “My job was to take care of what needed to be taken care of.”
One event, however, quickly became the catalyst for change in their relationship. The district attorney’s office tricked Maclin into showing up at a coffee shop, telling him it was a job interview. He arrived to find Robakowski, who’d been forced to attend the meeting by his boss.
While Maclin told the officer that he wanted to turn his life around, Robakowski wasn’t expecting much and vowed to put Maclin behind bars again at the first opportunity. That all changed over the course of two months, as Maclin began to prove himself to Robakowski and apply for jobs.
“He sent me on maybe 14 or 15 interviews in two weeks and one of them was Community Warehouse,” Maclin said. Community Warehouse, a non-profit home improvement store that employs ex-cons, subsequently hired him and he’s been working there for eight years.
Robakowski recently retired as a police officer, but wanted to remain employed somewhere else. The first person he turned to for help was his old rival — asking him to put in a word with Community Warehouse.
“He laughed,” the retired officer said. “Now he held the cards. But I wanted to be here.”
The two men, now co-workers, have both made significant progress in their lives. They are completely unrecognizable to each other now. Maclin, a father of four, said he’s got Robakowski to thank for everything he has.
Photo Credit: theblaze.com