I'm Going to Be Blunt
Jul 13, 2017 — I'm going to be blunt in this post, dear reader, and some of you may not like it. We have a serious problem, so I'm just going to just lay it on the table.
I'm listing the problems we're facing, as *I* see them - I'll let you form your own conclusions. A few have called me a fear-mongerer, but the facts speak for themselves, don't you think?
1. Contrary to what you may have heard via some media outlets, crime in Madison is growing both in number & heinousness. The media is just looking at averages. Take a look at this report that looks specifically at certain violent crimes. By the way, there are reports that crime is "down" in Chicago, but the hard truth is that the city I grew up (and love) in is in deep trouble.
2. Our police force is understaffed. According to a report issued by Assistant Chief Vic Wahl last year, we need between 37 and 361 police officers. The federal grant the Madison PD will apply for (after "approval" by common council, which included pontification about how their constituents don't want more cops. Really?!) would only cover about 15 officers. And my understanding is that the grant is a longshot.
In addition, about 80 officers are now, as we speak, eligible for retirement. This means they can walk off the job at any given time. I repeat: About 80 officers can walk off the job at any given time. Think about that for a moment.
With growing crime and inadequate police staffing, response times will be slower.
3. Officer morale is hurting. (No wonder!) There are a few reasons for this.
-Being understaffed makes it tougher to get a day off.
-City officials seem to work overtime to set landmines for law enforcement. Our cops don't feel appreciated.
-Mirroring nationwide trends, certain vocal cabals are constantly on the verbal attack. (Wouldn't it wear you down?)
4. We have a city government (and I assert, county government, at least most of them) who doesn't seen to understand the crux of our crime problem. Working with law enforcement is the solution - not throwing money at societal problems.
5. We have a problem on the prosecution end. I'm still trying to understand where the holes are, but I'm getting information that charges for violent felons are being dropped. And this is most definitely not OK.
Based on the number of angry comments I read on social media, it seems to me, people are as distraught as I am. Yet I started my new petition two weeks ago and, as of this writing, only have 330 signatures. That's great, but it should be much higher. If you haven't had a chance, I urge you to sign and share it. We will deliver it to common council & Mayor Soglin - and your voices *will* be heard.
Complaining about a problem without taking action to shepherd positive change is a complete waste of time. I'm asking you to do something as simple as signing a petition that I believe many of you agree with.
We can't do this alone. We need your voice. If it's just a few people writing decision makers with our concerns or signing a petition, they won't take it as seriously as if thousands of us were to speak out.
We work and have responsibilities just like you do. But we also realize that there's just too much at stake not to speak out.
I know many of you follow my action alerts and act on them, and I appreciate you more than you know for that. But we need more on board.
I know a lot of people want to leave the city, and that is certainly an option. But running to the suburbs, is in my opinion, a temporary solution. I think these problems will follow us wherever we go. Why not speak out?
If you're still with me and this post has moved you, I urge you to sign and share my new petition at https://www.change.org/p/mayor-soglin-fight-crime-in-madison-by-supporting-its-police-department
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
These are my thoughts, and my thoughts alone. This is not a dissertation, white paper, or complete analysis - it's a simple blog post.