Did we say the worm has turned? (Oh yes we did!) Madison alders and their enablers are turning away from harassing Police Chief Mike Koval, suspending the micro-managing and second-guessing of his sworn police officers, and toning down accusations of endemic police racism.
Glory be to God, the Madison Common Council has begun thinking about crime instead of investigating the police!
Ten homicides — none of them caused by police and all but one of them involving black victims and/or suspects — and a 53% increase in shootings will do that even to the most obdurate of liberal-progressive-socialist city leaders.
Over the weekend, the biggest worm (so far) has turned. Saturday, Common Council president Marsha Rummel confessed that she has begun “thinking deeply” about gun violence and the “homicide epidemic we are facing.”
This is progress. Previously, we noted that Ald. Amanda Hall played the little steam pot. Former Alder Brenda Konkel, progressive grand dragon of the War on Cops has quit advertising for complaints against the police. Sharon Irwin has receded into the fog of whatever she is into. Brandi Grayson is laying low.
It is a confession that the Emerald City’s fad programs, nostrums, community centers, peer counseling, and community sing-alongs aren’t working and aren’t likely to work.
Might they finally listen to the one Alder in their midst who gets it? That being Paul Skidmore, of District 9 on the far northwest side.
Skidmore boldly calls for more police, surveillance cameras in crime hot spots, and continuing the police presence in our schools.
Herein we reproduce (slightly condensed) Rummel’s e-mail to the other 19 Common Council members and the response of Alder Skidmore.
Council President Marsha Rummel:
I have been thinking deeply about next steps to combat the gun violence and homicide epidemic we are facing as I am sure you are too.
The city has provided resources for programs and initiatives to address poverty, opportunities for youth employment, affordable housing and community building/engagement and more. I am aware of several but not all projects and future plans so I seek your knowledge of what you think works. I would like to compile a list of these initiatives (including MMSD, NGO programs, etc). As I study the public health epidemic we are facing, I want to understand if the programs we are funding reflect trauma informed care.
I don’t want to reinvent the wheel but I want to identify any gaps in our efforts.
Are you getting that? “The public health epidemic.” (Eye Roll!) We’re sure Ald. Rummel would like to “compile a list of initiatives” but what would it prove? That they are ineffective?
Rummel chaired a “blame the cops” committee, formally known as the Common Council Subcommittee on Police and Community Relations, that proposed 13 micro-tunings of Madison’s police so picayune they disappeared down the memory hole. (Related here.) Thank God for …
Ald. Paul Skidmore:
… I have been hearing from many groups and individuals who have shared their dismay and concerns on the state of safety and security in Madison .… I will be holding a community listening session soon to get input and suggestions from west side residents, businesses, and property owners on safety, security, and violence facing our city.
… The city has expended considerable resources on programs and initiatives to address some of the root causes of violence, including: poverty, opportunities for youth employment, affordable housing and community building/engagement and more. I also believe that the Rapid Intervention Team, Place Making, and other new initiatives will also help … [and] I have championed affordable housing programs throughout the City. …
[However] … I do not believe that these types of programs will ever be capable of preventing or stopping the type of violence that is occurring. I feel that these crimes are being committed by a small subset of our community and some some outside the community. These are individuals who have little or no regard for human life — individuals who settle disputes with lethal force. … There is very limited cooperation from witnesses, suspects, and victims. Without witnesses or corroborating evidence, investigations are long and difficult. We are experiencing a dramatic surge in these violent crimes, and if we do not act swiftly to end this violence, it will continue to increase in the manner it has this year. I am convinced that we need a strong Police Department that is trained, equipped, and empowered to protect public safety, and to end the threats to our community.
The Madison Police Department and its officers are our last line of defense in the public safety spectrum. When everything else fails, and there is a crisis (weapons offense, assaults, homicides), we call the police to end the threat. About 90% of all police actions are the result of a call for service from an individual. The police are called when something terrible has happened, or could happen because reasonable efforts have not resolved the problem. MPD officers are trained to end the threat, no matter what it is, or where it is.
I believe that the “next steps to combat the gun violence and homicide epidemic’ are already available to us, and they are staring us in the face. We have the basic tools to address the violence, and ‘end the threats’, but we have not used them. Here is my prioritized list of suggested actions and programs:
- Adopt and implement reasonable surveillance programs
◦ Install surveillance cameras on key public utility poles at strategic intersections in targeted hot spots
◦ Initiate a body worn camera pilot project ASAP
◦ Request or compel building and site surveillance systems be installed and maintained at 24 hour convenience stores
- Increase police staffing levels to the suggested levels in the 2016 report: add 27 officers in 2018
- Increase (real) neighborhood policing in targeted hot spots — more patrol officers and neighborhood officers on duty where it counts
- Uniformly enforce criminal and civil laws throughout the City, and in all neighborhoods, and public schools
- Make a commitment to provide affordable housing and support services available to formerly incarcerated individuals
… I feel that if we do not take the steps necessary to face the severity of the threats to our community, we will continue to see an increase in the violence and homicides. If we continue to only address the root cause of violence, and not the violent acts and behavior, we are sending a message that we are not serious about ending the threat to our community.