Fight Crime in Madison by Supporting Its Police Department
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Mayor Paul Soglin and City of Madison Common Council,
Madison's quality of life is being diminished because of the increase in violent crimes. Madison Police Department data shows a troubling trend - not only are crimes increasing in number, but in heinousness as well.
Home invasions, armed robberies, homicides, random shots fired, gang rapes, and sexual assaults are crimes rarely seen at this level as recently as a decade ago. We deserve better. Scratch that, we demand better!
Your number one priority in combating this crime should be to fully support the Madison Police Department and work to strengthen it. Claiming you support the police while playing political legerdemain, is not the same as taking concrete measures to demonstrate the support that will lead to actionable change.
We call for the following:
1. Hold a press conference where you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Chief Koval and Madison PD command staff, face the cameras, and make it clear to criminals that they are not welcome here, and that perpetrators of crimes will be held fully accountable.
2. Stop putting roadblocks up for law enforcement. When you do the following, you are harming the morale of the police department and discouraging quality applicants from wanting to become cops.
These are a few examples:
- Using taxpayer-funded emergency money to contract out a $400,000 study of the police.
- Setting up additional ad-hoc groups to study "police / community relations."
- Accusing the chief of police of "campaigning for more department funds" or using tragedies to hire more police.
- Sending a joint apology letter (with Dane County government) during the 2015 tragedy to the deceased's family while ignoring Madison PD. (It was clear that you were taking sides.)
- Just "narrowly" approving Chief Koval's legal fees. He had every right to hire the best legal defense to defend himself against frivolous charges.
- Using common council meetings to publicly humiliate police command staff.
- Voting against a measure that would allow Madison PD to apply for a federal grant to increase police presence / or voting for it, but throwing in dubious comments.
- Interrogating citizens who vocally support Madison PD at common council meetings.
3. Actively find ways to fund the Madison Police Department. Public safety should be our number one priority and should come before funding social programs and other programs. Madison needs, at the very minimum, 37 more cops to fill the recommended 2.0 officers per 1,000 residents. This is not even the ideal. Madison is growing and needs more resources to fight the big-city crime problems we've inherited.
(Edited to add on 6/29/17)
4. Prioritize the emergency detentions issue. Officers are taken off the streets because they have to escort mentally ill patients to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, a two-hour drive each way.
This is in addition to the time it takes to process the patient, which can last over eight hours. About 300 hours (this is a conservative estimate) of police are taken off our streets, which makes them less safe - it takes longer for police to answer calls due to lack of resources.
The current emergency detentions system is bad for the patients, the officers, and for public safety.
Spend your time working on this issue, than say, renaming government buildings.
We hope you take this request seriously. Madison can be the great city it once was, but it will require taking steps to combat and prevent crime. The Madison Police Department is fully capable of keeping us safe, but they need resources and support in order to do it.
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