LaToya Dennis

News Reporter

LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.

Before coming to public radio, LaToya interned at the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. She also took part in NPR's 2005 Next Generation Radio Project in Kansas City, Missouri as well as NPR's summer 2006 Next Generation Radio Project in Indianapolis, Indiana.

LaToya holds both a Bachelor's degree and a Masters degree in journalism from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Dennis is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Ways to Connect

Michelle Maternowski

Across the country, people are outraged over the death of black men at the hands of police officers. In Milwaukee, a couple cases have gotten a lot of coverage. Two years ago, when an officer shot and killed Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park downtown, and in August, when a policeman fatally shot Sylville Smith in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

LaToya Dennis

Wednesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the Mitchell Park Domes an endangered historic place. Domes’ supporters hope the designation will galvanize community support around repairing the iconic structures.

JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

Wisconsin’s Division of Motor Vehicles has begun retraining workers, since it came under fire recently for failing, in some cases to give correct information to people seeking an ID to vote.

U.S District Court Judge James Peterson ordered the state show by Friday that it can meet the needs of people seeking identification for voting. The rush is on, but it’s not enough to satisfy some legislators.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not hear Wisconsin’s John Doe case. John Doe had been looking into whether Gov. Walker’s 2012 recall campaign and third party funders illegally collaborated. Wisconsin’s Supreme Court had ordered an end to the probe, but prosecutors wanted to continue. Monday they lost that petition. Former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske says there are several reasons why John Doe likely didn’t make the cut.

LaToya Dennis

Access to fresh food is limited in some Milwaukee neighborhoods without full-service grocery stores. Now, a few residents have come up with a plan they call Market Boxx. It would not only bring fresh produce to more people, but also create entrepreneurs, starting in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

LaToya Dennis

Being a police officer in today’s climate is a difficult job, according to Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. 

On Thursday, he spoke to journalists and members of the public at an event the Milwaukee Press Club sponsored. Flynn told the crowd that officers need to be given the benefit of the doubt.

GOP Presidential hopeful Donald Trump is scheduled to lead a rally at the Waukesha County Expo Center Wednesday evening. While Wisconsin is considered a battle ground state, it has been decades since a Republican won the state’s presidential vote. On Tuesday, we spoke to early voters in Milwaukee about the issues driving them to the polls. Today, we bring you voices from the streets of Waukesha.

Groups in Milwaukee have called for the state or Milwaukee Police Department to release the police video that may have captured the fatal officer shooting of Sylville Smith in August. After completing his investigation last week, Attorney General Brad Schimel said the tape would not be released until the Milwaukee County D-A decides whether to charge the officer.

LaToya Dennis

MPD Sergeant Sheronda Grant talks about being a black police officer in Milwaukee, a minority-majority city, and during an era when police face a mix of harsh criticism and volatile situations. Grant is president of the League of Martin, an African American police association. She says the job can be especially stressful these days because what happens with police anywhere affects officers everywhere, yet she encourages young people to consider a career in law enforcement.

LaToya Dennis

Books in barbershops are rolling-out in Milwaukee. It’s an effort to help close the city’s black white student achievement gap – one of the highest in the country. Organizers say it’s not what you read, only that you read.

There are a lot of things you might expect to find at a barbershop. The buzz of clippers, conversations about politics or community happenings, but not a library, that is, until now.

LaToya Dennis

Sylville Smith, the African American man killed by a black police officer two weeks ago was laid to rest Friday.

Rev. Jesse Jackson traveled to Milwaukee to give the eulogy. Jackson said that while this funeral could not have been prevented, maybe others will. The only way that will happen, he said, is if people are given not only hope, but jobs.

LaToya Dennis

Friday in Milwaukee, family and friends of Sylville Smith will lay him to rest. He’s the 23-year-old African American a police officer shot and killed on August 13 near the Sherman Park neighborhood.

In the hours following, anger reached a fever pitch as protestors set businesses on fire and attacked police. The city bolstered its force and imposed a 10 P.M. curfew for teens, and since things seem to have simmered.

But it might not last long if conditions don’t improve for struggling residents, according Jay Holmes and Camille Mays.

LaToya Dennis

Milwaukee leaders on Tuesday released a plan some believe will help curtail crime in the city.

Over the summer, the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee held special meetings with agencies that work to keep the community safe. Those included the Milwaukee Police Department, the state Department of Corrections and the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services. They were summoned after the city experienced a rash of certain crimes, including vehicles thefts.

ANDREW BURTON/GETTY IMAGES

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced on Monday that it would keep its abortion clinic in Appleton closed. The reason for this, the organization says, is domestic terrorism. While some abortion opponents denounce threats of violence, they’re glad the clinic won’t reopen.

There are two abortion providers in the state - Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services, which only operates in Milwaukee.

UPDATE: Sylville Smith was shot once in the chest and once in the arm, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. Those autopsy results seem to correspond with city leaders' account that Smith had turned toward the officer who fatally shot him. Police say the 23-year-old was armed and fleeing after a traffic stop.

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