Prospects for beefing up the Madison Police Department are looking up.
Ald. Paul Skidmore is re-introducing his budget amendment to add $400,000 to next year’s budget in addition to the $350,000 originally proposed by Mayor Soglin as part of a federal grant application that would net the city 15 extra police officers.
The combined city match would complement the $750,000 the city is seeking in federal grants to hire more police. Even if the U.S. Department of Justice denies the grant — as several alders said is likely — the beefed-up city outlay still would buy 8 more police officers and 2 squad cars, Skidmore told the Policy Werkes.
Ald. Skidmore’s $400,000 sweetener was defeated late last month in committee on a 3-4 vote but the alder says more of his colleagues are signing on to his renewed amendment.
In addition to Alds. Mike Verveer and Barbara McKinney, who voted with Skidmore in committee, Alders Matt Phair, Mark Clear and Steve King are signing on. “We’re getting close to 10,” Ald. Skidmore told us.
“Paula’s thing is working well.”
That would be Paula Fitzsimmons, who has been lobbying the Common Council for more police through her on-line petition, Support Madison Police. At this writing, over 520 had signed. Now it’s your turn. (We’ll wait.)
That’s still not veto proof but if Paul Soglin wants to run for governor does he really want to veto more police?
Two more alders, Ledell Zellers and Zach Wood are joining Verveer and Skidmore in hosting a downtown public-protection listening session Thursday Nov. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Concourse Hotel. It would be hard to imagine attendees saying they have enough police.
A surer bet is that city government will throw $250,000 for two positions in the city-county public health department for “public health-based violence prevention.”
Exactly how that would work, its two principal authors, Alds. Mo Cheeks and Matt Phair, could not answer in a constituent meeting a month ago.
Meanwhile, the county’s Public Protection & Judiciary Committee approved a budget amendment sponsored by Sups. Carousel Bayrd and Jenni Dye — two of the most liberal members of a very liberal county board — to eliminate two full-time, project paralegal positions in the district attorney’s office. Why, because embattled D.A. Ismael Ozanne is not diverting enough criminals from jail.
I guess you got to be on county board these days for that to make sense.
Then again, we recall this sagacious advice from that Jack Nicholson movie: Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.