6 Madison Police Officers Disciplined!

Posted December 8th, 2016 @ 8:13 AM by

We learned this week that Officers Scott McConnell and Dean Baldukas were disciplined for their online comments in a petition presented to the Common Council and four other officers the department refuses to identify were disciplined for their roles in the whiteboard incident suggesting how to make homeless persons move from the top of State St.

PETITION COMMENTS
What did the officers do?
You remember the cops that called people like me, people who believe in police accountability, gloryholing nincompoops and Progressive assbags that should go fuck themselves, don’t you? These were comments made about Madison’s residents in an online petitions, one sent to the Madison Common Council that were supposed to be defending the police from the attacks on their professionalism . . . and it back fired greatly. Here’s the summary from last July:

These comments were made around the time we were finding out that Matt Kenney, who shot Tony Robinson, was inappropriately sent to a East Side neighborhood center. And the whole Shake the Lake pepperspraying incident, which Matt Kenney was involved in too. And, when Assistant Chief Randy Gaber was having a fit because people make comments on facebook he didn’t like about crafting with a cop. These comments were made in the petition that was presented the same night as the incident in which Chief Koval called Tony Robinson’s grandmother a “raging lunatic”, for which he is now facing a complaint in front of the Police and Fire Commission.

I gotta say . . . the department ain’t lookin’ too good these days . . . so they’ll probably crack down and do something meaningful, right? Don’t hold your breath. How long can they keep claiming that these are just “outliers”?

The department’s response
Four and a half months later, after alot of waiting, we are learning this:

from: Patterson, John <JPatterson@cityofmadison.com>
to: “brendakonkel@gmail.com” <brendakonkel@gmail.com>cc: “Chamberlin, Amy” <AChamberlin@cityofmadison.com>
date: Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 12:55 PM
subject: Change.org Petition Complaint Resolution

Hello Ms. Konkel,

I am sending you this email on behalf of Lt. Amy Chamberlin who is out of the state this week.

Lt Chamberlin has concluded the investigation regarding your complaint dating back to 7/18/2016. Attached you will find a summary of her findings as well as a copy of City Attorney Michael Mays’ memo regarding public employee speech and First Amendment considerations. This memo was ultimately considered while investigating this matter.

Thank you,
Captain John Patterson

Drumroll please . . .

December 3, 2016

Complaint Number: 2016PSIA-0026
Date of Occurrence: July 1st, 2016

Ms Konkel,

On July 18th, 2016, you filed a complaint concerning the conduct of Madison Police Officers Scott McConnell and Dean Baldukas. Your complaint specifically noted inappropriate comments that were made by both officers to two individual Change.org petitions.

Early in this investigation, City Attorney Michael May was consulted and he provided a memo containing several examples of case law that addressed issues of free speech and public employee discipline. After reviewing Attorney May’s memo and upon further investigation into your complaint, the Madison Police Department found supporting evidence that the officers’ First Amendment right to free speech was not protected in this case and that potential discipline using what’s known as the Connick-Pickering analysis could be considered.

This investigation revealed one City APM and one MPD Standard operating procedure that were violated. The same City APM and MPD SOP were violated by each officer. They are as follows:

Madison City APM 3-9, #10 Appropriate Use of Computer Network Resources

Policy: The use of computer network resources including the Internet and/or e-mail, whether in-house or external, for any of the following purposes is strictly prohibited:

10. Placing one’s City-issued Internet e-mail address on any Internet-related service for other than business purposes. If an employee becomes aware that his/her City-issued Internet e-mail address is on a non-business related service, he/she should promptly request that it be removed and/or unsubscribe.

Both Officer McConnell and Officer Baldukas associated their City of Madison email address to the Change.org website when signing the petition. Both officers signed the Change.org petitions while off duty and did not use city computers to do so, but the policy specifically states this APM applies to actions both on and off duty.

Madison Police Department Standard Operating Procedure – Social Media, Off Duty Use

MPD personnel have a duty to represent honestly, respectfully, and legally their dedication to the profession of law enforcement while on- and off-duty. MPD personnel are expected to represent the Core Values of the Madison Police Department at all times, even while using the internet for personal purposes. All MPD personnel are reminded that they are committed to act as representatives of the MPD at all times, while on and off duty, and that all policies, memos, and applicable laws governing personnel conduct also apply to conduct associated with the use of social media.

This investigation determined that the content of the officers’ comments to both of the Change.org petitions did not reflect the Madison Police Department’s Core Values and even though their comments were made while off duty, these officers were not professional in their representation of the department in their statements.

The City of Madison APM 3-9, #10 and the MPD SOP Social Media, Off Duty Use are considered Category B offenses as they relate to the MPD Standard Operating Procedure, PSIA Discipline Matrix. Category B offenses can include sanctions that range from Verbal Counseling, Mediation, or Documented Counseling up to the first level of discipline, a Letter of Reprimand. Prior discipline history for each officer was considered and the progressive discipline model based on MPD SOP was considered and is reflected in the level of sanctions imposed for each officer listed below.

Officer Scott McConnell was found to be in violation of the following:
• Madison City APM 3-9, #10 (Appropriate Use of Computer Network Resources)
Sustained – Documented Counseling
• MPD Standard Operating Procedure – Social Media, Off Duty Use Sustained – Documented Counseling

Officer Dean Baldukas was found to be in violation of the following:
• Madison City APM 3-9, #10 (Appropriate Use of Computer Network Resources)
Sustained – Documented Counseling
• MPD Standard Operating Procedure – Social Media, Off Duty Use Sustained – Letter of Reprimand

Your complaint is now closed with our department. Should you wish to file your complaint separately with the Police and Fire Commission (PFC), you may contact Mr. Scott Herrick by email at snh@herricklaw.net, the Mayor’s office, or the City Clerk’s Office.

Respectfully,
Lieutenant Amy Chamberlin
Professional Standards and Internal Affairs City of Madison Police Department

Hmmm . . . sustained!

Chief Koval was mighty wrong!
If you remember at the council meeting, Chief Koval erroneously said that he couldn’t do anything about these comments because of the first amendment rights of the police officers adn that they could only do something if this was done on city time. Let me replay that for you . . .

Or this video if you prefer? So you can get a better look at Koval saying this.

“The problem, or the challenge, or the conundrum if you will”, is that City Attorney Michael May definitely disagreed. Here’s his memo

So . . . what does that mean
That vocabulary of “Documented Counseling” threw me for a loop.

From: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>Date: December 7, 2016 at 7:50:10 AM CST
To: “Chamberlin, Amy” <AChamberlin@cityofmadison.com>
Cc: “Koval, Michael” <MKoval@cityofmadison.com>, “Gaber, Randall” <RGaber@cityofmadison.com>, Patterson@cityofmadison.com
Subject: Re: Change.org Petition Complaint Resolution

My apologies! I did get this on Monday, the subject line and sender threw me off!

Thank you very much! I see in this case and the white board case officers received “counseling”. I’m curious, what does that mean when the department say it? I’m guessing you may have a meaning that is more specific than what people might assume with this common language. Does this mean they were merely talked to and told not to do it again? Or they had to engage in a counseling session? Or something else?

Again, my apologies for not seeing this earlier.

The response:

Lt. Chamberlin asked that I attempt to answer your questions from the email string below. When an SOP or Code of Conduct violation is sustained against an officer there are a range of ‘sanctions’ that the Chief can choose from. They are as follows in order of magnitude:
· Verbal Counseling
· Documented Counseling
· Letter of Reprimand
· Suspension/reduction in rank
· Separation of Service
Additionally, the Chief can also require non-punitive measures such as Work Rules and Training.

The sanctions are determined by the Chief and based largely on pre-determined criteria found within our Discipline Matrix. This guide helps ensure that the Chief is meeting the statutory obligations commonly referred to as the “7 Standards for Just Cause” found in Wisconsin State Statute 62.13(5). In the ‘White Board’ case, the employees with sustained violations received ‘Documented Counseling’. A record of all sanctions (beginning with verbal counseling) are kept within our Professional Standards & Internal Affairs ‘Discipline Files’. I am including a link to our Discipline Matrix which can be found on our webpage and provides additional details beyond my explanation.

A sustained violation, regardless of the sanction issued (i.e. Verbal Counseling) initiates our process of progressive discipline (further detailed in the Discipline Matrix). Should an employee have an additional sustained SOP or Code of Conduct violation (of any kind) within a specified time period they would be subject to a higher level sanction because of their repeated misconduct.

http://www.cityofmadison.com/police/documents/sop/PSIAdiscMatrix.pdf

Please let me know if you have any further questions,
Regards,
Sgt. Erik Fuhremann
Madison Police Department
Professional Standards & Internal Affairs

So, they got a stern talking to and it was noted in their file? No “work rules” or “training” even?

Still waiting
I suspect that they have been involved in other incidents since they are in Category B and one got a letter of reprimand, but I’m struggling to wade through this new (to me) vocabulary. The matrix says this “Repeated acts of category A violations within one year will increase the repeated violation into category B.” And I suspect there may have been other violaitons, so I did an open records request months ago . . .

from: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>to: Anthony Bitterman <ABitterman@cityofmadison.com>
date: Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 5:42 PM
subject: Open records requests
I don’t know how I need to word this one, so tell me if I don’t get it right. I’m looking for information about past disciplinary actions for Dean Baldukas and Scott McConnell. I am interested in what they were disciplined for and what the discipline was. I would also like to see unsustained complaints. I am interested in information for their entire employment history with MPD.

Thanks. And let me know if you have any questions.

At the time he responded:

from: Bitterman, Anthony <ABitterman@cityofmadison.com>
to: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>date: Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 10:37 AM
subject: RE: Open records requests
mailed-by: cityofmadison.com
Hello Ms. Konkel,

I’ve received your request for information regarding past disciplinary actions for Officers Baldukas and McConnell.

As this request concerns their disciplinary records, before I can release anything the officers will be need to be provided notice of what is to be released. As part of this process, once the records have been prepared and presented to the officers, the officers are given ten days to notify me whether they intend to challenge release of the records.

Therefore, while I have your request, I don’t have an exact timeline as to when the records can be released.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Lt. Bitterman

Since then there have been staffing changes and here’s some more recent exchanges:

from: Radovan, John <JRadovan@cityofmadison.com>
to: “brendakonkel@gmail.com” <brendakonkel@gmail.com>date: Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 10:39 AM
subject: Your open records request
mailed-by: cityofmadison.com

Brenda,

I started a few weeks ago as Records Custodian in place of Lt Bitterman. There was a stack of files he left that we miscommunicated on whether I needed to do anything with them. I didn’t realize until yesterday that I did and in going through them saw your request for past disciplinary actions for Dean Baldukas and Scott McConnell. My apologies for the delay and I assume you are still seeking those records. There was work done on this and I don’t think it would take long to complete, but Lt Bitterman won’t be back around for me to talk to him to make sure where things are at until next Tuesday. I don’t see anything where the officers were given a Woznicki notice so that might delay things a few weeks further. Let me know if anything changes with your request but after I talk to him next week I’ll get back to you on a timetable.

Lieutenant John Radovan
Records Custodian
City of Madison Police Department

I wished him well in the new job and waited . . .

from: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>to: “Radovan, John” <JRadovan@cityofmadison.com>
date: Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 2:17 PM
subject: Re: Your open records request
Any updates on this?

from: Radovan, John <JRadovan@cityofmadison.com>
to: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>date: Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 5:18 PM
subject: RE: Your open records request
Brenda,

I’m sorry but I’ve been really busy and things are taking much longer with stuff than they should be. A lot of different requests have come up that I’ve had to deal with and I haven’t been able to focus on this request. It’s been way too long though and I will put this at the top of my priority list. Feel free to give me a call but I will give you an update no later than Monday where things stand. I would hope by then I can have everything put together and a notice out to the officers about what’s being released.

Lieutenant John Radovan
Records Custodian
City of Madison Police Department
(608) 266-6068

Ok . . .

from: Radovan, John <JRadovan@cityofmadison.com>
to: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>date: Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 1:02 PM
subject: RE: Your open records request
Brenda,

I’m going to be done with this next week, then need to give the officers their notice requirement before getting it to you.

John

So, that was last week . . . and I’m still waiting . . .

WHITEBOARD INCIDENT
Incident number 2 . . .
What did the officers do?

The Isthmus broke this story. Here’s my blog on it responding to their suggestions that we carpet bomb people without homes, or give them laced herion. Here’s some visuals if you need them . . .

The department’s response
So, I had combined my question about “documented counseling” and I got this response from Brian Austin as well:

from: Austin, Brian <BAustin@cityofmadison.com>
to: “brendakonkel@gmail.com” <brendakonkel@gmail.com>date: Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 12:52 PM
subject: Status update
Dear Ms. Konkel,

I have been advised that you requested notification of the results of the “White Board” investigation, and I am writing you to provide that update. My investigation into the matter has been completed. Following is the Madison Police Department statement summarizing the incident and disposition of the investigation:

“On Monday, August 29th, 2016, Madison Police supervisors became aware of a handwritten list of items on a dry erase board located in a common briefing room in the Central District station. From the title and context of the display, it was evident that the list started as a legitimate problem-solving exercise to solicit ideas for addressing the area located at top of State Street, informally known as “Tinker Toy Park.” For several months prior, that area had been the focus of increased citizen and business complaints regarding issues of personal safety, drug use, depositing of human waste, alcohol-fueled fights, prostitution, and sexual harassment.

While the list contained legitimate suggestions for crime prevention through environmental design, there were items on the list that were clearly not serious or productive. Some of these suggestions violated the Madison Police Department Code of Conduct for Courtesy, Respect and Professional Conduct.

An investigation was initiated, and all employees who contributed to the list came forward and acknowledged their involvement. This voluntary disclosure achieved a full accounting of every item on the list, and four people were identified who wrote suggestions that were inappropriate and violated the MPD Code of Conduct. It was clear from interviews that the employees did not contemplate that these suggestions would be taken seriously, and did not intend to cause harm to anyone. For their participation in this incident, all four officers received documented counseling.

Best,
Brian

Lieutenant Brian Austin
Central District Patrol Operations
City of Madison Police Department
211 S. Carroll Street
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 267-1194 (office)

Another stern talkin’ to?

I didn’t exactly ask that, but thanks! I was aware of what the department concluded, I was just asking about the “documented counseling”.

from: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>to: “Austin, Brian” <BAustin@cityofmadison.com>
date: Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 12:55 PM
subject: Re: Status update
Thanks . . . I was just asking what “documented counseling” means. I kinda got an answer and they forwarded me the matrix which I haven’t had time to read.

Are you releasing the names of the officers?

Brenda

from: Austin, Brian <BAustin@cityofmadison.com>
to: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>date: Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 1:17 PM
subject: RE: Status update

No, the Department will not be releasing the names of the involved officers. It has been MPD’s longstanding policy, supported by the City Attorney’s office, that we do not release names of officers for this type of internal, non-disciplinary incident.

Best,
Brian

Should these officers remain anonymous?
Um . . . here’s the problem if they don’t release the names . . .

from: Brenda Konkel <brendakonkel@gmail.com>to: “Austin, Brian” <BAustin@cityofmadison.com>
date: Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 1:31 PM
subject: Re: Status update

Seems funny we know who Baldukas and McConnell are at the same time we don’t know who the whiteboard people are . . . but I guess it was kinda their fault for being public in their comments. I’m concerned about working with officers who may have said these things – are they liaisons to any homeless groups or mental health officers? Are they neighborhood officers or the CPT officers? Saying “no” would be incredibly helpful!!! I suspect these were CPT officers and if so, that is significant. It’d be great to confirm they were not.

He didn’t answer . . . . but that was only 18 hours ago . . . so maybe he will. But what if he doesn’t? Is this how our Community Policing Teams solve problems? It’s a question in my head that won’t go away . . . how do we work with the police department on homelessness issues when we don’t know if we are working with the officers who suggested these “solutions”?


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