The Milwaukee Fire Department promised to take disciplinary action after a black fetus doll was found hanged by a ribbon at a station.
An investigation was launched after the small black figurine was found hanging by a pink looped ribbon on a hook on February 13.
The Milwaukee Fire Department Administration released a statement maintaining that "numerous members" of the Milwaukee Fire Department, including those with ranks of Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, and Deputy Chief, were said to be aware, or should have been aware, that the hanged doll would have depicted the department as not being a "diverse, welcoming, safe, and non-hostile" working environment.
Mayor Tom Barrett called the incident "disgusting" and called for the prosecution of those responsible.
Disciplinary charges are expected to be announced later this week, and numerous members will have letters of reprimand added in their files for "failure to maintain good order."
"While the investigation's findings do not reveal a deliberate or intentional racist or sexist intent, nor an effort to target any individual member or group, it is no small matter that our failure, collectively, to maintain and reinforce an environment and culture within which an occurrence such as this would instantly be questioned and stopped, bears much responsibility for this," the statement said, "The Milwaukee Fire Department finds any word, action, or deed which negatively impacts any of our members (or members of the many vibrant communities we serve) based upon age, culture, ethnicity, race, religious expression, sexual orientation, gender expression, or the expression of unique philosophies and ideas, in a word, reprehensible. It is our hope that from this wretched episode greater understanding and positive and real change will occur."
The Milwaukee Fire Department stated that it will be conducting anti-harassment training in the next few months because of the incident.
Alderwoman Milele Coggs stated that she introduced a communication file to help explain the recent events at the fire department, and to examine how it deals with such kind of incidents.
"This file can allow for a public discussion as we continue to seek as much transparency as possible within local government," Coggs said, "Most importantly, we need to make sure every department within the City fosters an open, welcoming and inclusive environment for all people to feel safe and respected. Incidents like the one that occurred should not be acceptable and making sure they are dealt with in an appropriate manner is vitally important."