ACTION NEEDED: 8 More Police Officers?

Posted January 8th, 2018 @ 8:29 AM by

Dang – the city CAN move quickly if it wants to ram something through the process! Vote Tonight!

BACKGROUND
During the budget discussion there was money put in the budget that would be a match for the COPS grant (federal grant to hire more police officers) if they city got it. The city didn’t get the grant, but the money is still in the police budget. At that time, the council put in extra language saying that before the police spend the money, they have to come back to the city council. So, lickity-split they are on it!

GREASED LIGHTENING
It was entered into legistar on December 15th and very few people noticed. It was introduced last week Tuesday at the council meeting and it was referred to Finance Committee which is meeting tonight. It goes to the council for final approval next Tuesday. The Council and the Ad Hoc Police Policy and Procedure Committee will be getting a report on the OIR report on Thursday, but there is no agenda or notification for that meeting yet. But, it looks like the council should think about that report before adding 8 more officers.

WHAT DOES THE OIR REPORT SAY ABOUT NEEDING MORE COPS?
It says we don’t know what our cops currently do!!! Don’t you think we should find out first before we hire MORE . . . some activists drafted this letter to the council that explains:

Dear Council President Rummel and All City of Madison Alders,

It is our understanding that Madison Police Department (MPD) Chief Koval, Mayor Soglin, and several Alders, wish to increase MPD’s operating budget by $600,000 in order to hire more police officers and purchase more patrol cars. We are asking you to postpone this item until the following three objectives are reached:

1. We have conclusive, objectively produced, and thoroughly analyzed data about the behavior, activities, outcomes, and overall impact of MPD’s police officers, for both the public, and elected, appointed, and sworn officials to respond to.
2. We, as a community of the public, and elected, appointed, and sworn officials, have all fully processed the OIR Group’s report and recommendations.
3. We, as a community, have first allowed the MPD Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee to complete its work, and then have all fully processed the Ad Hoc Committee’s final recommendations.

As you know, the OIR Group’s audit of MPD has resulted in more than 140 recommendations. One of the most eye-opening observations in OIR’s report is that MPD had little to no data to offer OIR that would allow the consultants to objectively measure whether MPD is or is not doing what they say they do or aspire to do. Because MPD Chief Koval has chosen not to keep sufficient data on officer behavior and daily activities, and to eliminate regular performance evaluations, MPD has ensured that there is no way for anybody to measure the impact, positive or negative, of its behavior, policies, procedures, training, and hiring on either itself as an agency, its officers, or the public. MPD has scant data to show what its “neighborhood”, “problem solving”, “mental health” and “Core Team” police officers are actually doing when they interact with the public. MPD simply does not have the evidence to demonstrate whether the agency and its police officers are who they claim to be — or not. Therefore, how can we as a community possibly know that we want to increase MPD’s budget in order to hire more police officers?

There is data, however, from 2016 showing that MPD has a higher per capita rate of officer-involved fatalities than the New York City Police Department (NYPD). There is also data showing that MPD operates in the heart of the worst county for Black children to live, with some of the worst racial disparities in incarceration rates, in the nation.

Please withhold the vote for more MPD officers and equipment until we as a community have fully processed the recommendations of both the OIR Group and the Ad Hoc Committee, and we have sufficient data on what our MPD police officers are actually doing. We must know how our police department actually impacts us before we decide to increase MPD’s almost $70 million annual budget to add more cops to our community. Who knows? The data might show that ever-increasing policing of the public is not a panacea for our communities’ social ills, and we might learn that there are more equitable, just, cost-effective, and sustainable ways of addressing our diverse communities’ needs and desires.

Sincerely,

Amelia Royko Maurer, Community Response Team
Nate Royko Maurer, Community Response Team
Nino Rodriguez, Organizer with Free the 350 Bail Fund and Derail The Jail Coalition
Dr. Greg Gelembiuk, Community Response Team

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Email allalders@cityofmadison.com and let them know that we don’t think there is sufficient evidence to show that we need 8 more officers at this time. If you can, do it before the Finance Committee tonight – but if you don’t get it in today . . . you have until next Tuesday to have your voice heard.

2. Finance Committee tonight. If you can make the Finance Committee meeting tonight, you can attend and register against (fill out a form) or you can speak. The meeting starts at 4:30, but its the last item (#32) on a long agenda, so I expect you could get there as late at 6pm.

3. Attend the council meeting next week Tuesday – December 16th. (Yeah, that’s right, one month, from when they drafted the resolution and got it into legistar and they got it done in one month over the holidays) Show up to register against or speak. And keep emailing up to that date.


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