Madison Police Chief Mike Koval Correct About City Council Wasting $400,000 On Study
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval wrote a blog post this past weekend that placed common sense front and center concerning a desire by some council members to spend $400,000 on a study about police practices. Needless to say our police department has generated a great deal of interest over the past couple years as an effort continues by some to make the agency the scapegoat for a host of social ills. Koval’s words has caused great consternation among some on the council who believe that in addition to all their other talents they are also capable of micro-managing the police department. How do they even have time to eat?
The police chief was blunt in his assessment of the current situation on his blog post, but it needs to be noted the stern tone and tough language is not only what the council needs to hear from him but also what many of my fellow residents wish to tell them, too!
In the blog post, titled “A Report Card for $400k? What’s Important NOW (W.I.N)?!” Koval states he has no issue with the idea of having his department’s policies and practices evaluated. Those who have come to now him by his actions or from speaking with others who work with him know Koval is an honest broker and most reasonable. But he is also a strong advocate for his department and correctly believes that there should be support and respect for the men and women who work for our safety. It is my opinion that respect and support should start at the council.
Koval made it very clear he has an issue with the amount of money requested for the study and knows, like every other sound thinking person in our city, that the money would be better spent elsewhere.
When not-for-profits and community leaders and activists are begging and bemoaning funding for engagement initiatives that are urgently needed, the city is marching forward demanding a total of $400,000 to get a report card on MPD. Heck! Why stop there? Why don’t we double that amount? For a city that claims to be on brink of fiscal ruin, if this is so damn urgent and this Department is spiraling out of control, then money should be of no object!
There is no doubt that using the $400,000 on programs and new ideas to foster stronger families and tighter neighborhoods would go a great deal further than trying to argue why the police department is the source of problems in our community. In fact, our police department is a most competent and conscientious agency. Taxpayers in Madison know we have a professional workforce in spite of those who feverishly try to make us think the opposite.
You tell us the cupboard is bare and there is no money for anything. But the city will go into their financial reserve fund for $400,000 for an assessment of a department that has been recognized by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) as a shining light of progressive community based policing?!?! Can’t wait to see how this plays out!
I follow the news of this city closely and firmly believe that when all is said and done there remains a small and energized minority of people who make it their habit of protesting the department and seeking ways to undermine the department. That is why I am so very proud of the words Koval expressed as they sum up not only the way I feel but also many of those I speak with about local matters. I have found many points of view over the past months about which person should be the Democratic presidential nominee, but I can honestly say the vast majority of those I talk with support–and strongly support–our police department based on performance.
The ‘perpetually offended’ of Madison who use their small but vocal numbers to dictate agendas has an incredible grip on this city. No one dares to raise a voice lest they be marginalized in the PC world of Madison.
Not everyone is cowed.
As crowds protested the day after a fatal shooting on Williamson Street I walked up to a police officer and thanked him for what he was doing for the safety in the neighborhood. After we were finished talking a protester walked out of their way to ask “Did I just hear what you said?”
The person was deeply offended to high heaven that anyone would thank an officer. I stood my ground and tried to engage the person in a conversation about the role of police in our city which has too many guns, drugs, and gang members. I am so tired of the social ills that surround us being the reason cops are vilified when they have to deal with them.
The same way I stood my ground (in a very small way that afternoon) is precisely how I want my city council member to also act regarding our police department. I suspect most of my fellow Madisonians feel the same.
That is why we support the words from Koval when speaking about the alders.
To the Common Council: You are being watched. And be on notice: this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD is constantly used as a political punching bag and you are nowhere to be found.
It seems more often than not some bright light in the council is simply randy for pulling a large chunk of money out of thin air—and in the middle of a budget year–for some grand proposal. Since this now seems the way our council operates one has to ask why even go through the Kabuki Theater of a budget process? How about the council just place the entire operating budget into a contingency fund and shower it on the loudest and most dreadful ideas? The first group to close East Washington please step up for your money!
I know Chief Koval is facing a great deal of angry feedback from some in this city. But as always it is the men and women of moderate temperaments who stand with him and the entire department. The average taxpayer who nods in greeting as a squad car passes down the block, or the grateful person who gets an officer at the door following an urgent call, or the driver who navigates a street due to the efforts of a traffic cop. The list could go on and on.
It is time for the average person of Madison to have their say by telling the council not to waste $400,000 on a study.