Madison’s $400,000 police study proposes violating state law

Augmented Reality for the Progressively afflicted

Shouldn’t there, at least, be a tee shirt?

I paid $400,000 for a study of the Madison Police Department and all I got was this lousy tee shirt and a paperweight of a report. (Dust, do your thing!)

Lousy T-shirtThe Berkeley California boutique hired by the City of Madison to search for latent signs of subliminal racism came up empty except for finding “some gaps” in the comfort level of female and nonwhite recruits.

“That is not a condemnation of Chief Koval, but a statement on our society,” Ald. Paul Skidmore told the Policy Werkes.

“I did not see any major revelations, and I did not see anything that warrants a major change or action. It looks like OIR spent a lot of time and money confirming that we have a solid, well run department. We spent $400K on this?”

Ald. Skidmore quoted from the report:

There’s no question that the department does a lot of things remarkably well and unusually well in terms of the personnel it is able to attract.

“I consider these comments to be a strong endorsements of MPD,” Ald. Skidmore said.

“It was very gratifying to hear OIR recognize MPD as a professional, dedicated and progressive Department,” added Chief Koval.

Independent of whom?

Our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances will hang their hats on one of OIR’s recommendations and it is a biggie.

The consultants propose an independent police auditor that would report to a community review board.

“The auditor could provide an outlet to receive and evaluate police complaints, review internal investigations and use-of-force incidents,” the WI State Journal reports. That is huge.

“Independent”? Of whom? Certainly, independent of the police department. But independent of the Common Council? Whether yes or no, does anyone doubt that Progressive Dane will try to get its meat hooks on the review board so that it can hire the auditor of its choice? Can you see the Royko Maurers, M. Adams of Freedom Inc., Brandi Grayson and Matt Braunginn of Young & Foolish on that board?

It is surprising that the OIR Group purports to understand recent legislation governing on-body police cameras. (Its verdict: More trouble than they’re worth, given the restrictions placed on it by the state. That, alone, should assure the WI State Journal’s enmity.) Surprising in contrast to OIR’s ignorance of state law governing municipal police.

Their proposed auditor reporting to an independent “community review board” clearly violates state statute UNLESS that review board is the duly constituted police and fire commission. (You just read the money quote.) At best, this so-called community review board would be merely advisory.

Typical government report: Layer on more government. More bureaucracy, more finger twisting and hair pulling, more second guessing, more time wasting.

State statute 62.13 prescribes police governance. It is clear that only Police and Fire Commissions are authorized to oversee municipal police departments. (Of interest: of the five PFC commissioners authorized by law, the mayor may not appoint “more than three members of the board belonging to the same political party.” Memo to self: Check out Madison’s PFC in that regard.)

In any event, if such an auditor is permitted, the auditor would have to report to the PFC — THAT is the only “review board” permitted by statute. (Another money quote for you.)

The statute does allow PFCs to take a more active role in the administration of police and fire departments, above and beyond its current role of hiring, firing, and disciplining. A PFC may “organize and supervise … and … prescribe rules and regulations for their control and management.” That’s a pretty broad mandate. But PFCs may do so only after a citywide referendum.

Standards for police governance are statewide

Madison’s $400,000 consultants don’t seem to understand that the State of Wisconsin mandates uniform management of municipal police departments. Again, in the Laws of the State of Wisconsin:

Legislative intent. [The various statutory chapters] shall be construed as an enactment of statewide concern for the purpose of providing a uniform regulation of police, fire, and combined protective services departments.

Koval study city

Artwork by the late, great Col. Tim Donovan

The intent, of course, is to depoliticize police departments which, once upon a time, enforced the spoils system of big-city political machines.

The out-of-state OIR recommendation does the opposite. It politicizes policing.

We’ll give former Madison alder Dorothy Borchardt the last word:

I would support spending $400,000 for a report on the City Council and the changes needed so they represent their districts and not Progressive Dane. PD has never supported the Madison Police.

See the OIR consultants report here. (Warning: there’s not a lot of meat on the bone.)

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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5 Responses to Madison’s $400,000 police study proposes violating state law

  1. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    The latest (but by no means the last) example of an expensive boondoggle by Madison’s liberal elites, the sole purpose of which is to make them feel al little better about themselves.


  2. This much wasted money pulled from the emergency reserves could have been better spent helping solve real problems or not spent at all.What a waste! Instead of solving real problems like the emergency detention problem these alders waste money to make themselves feel good. Who are they really serving, the citizens of Madison or themselves?


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  4. Pingback: Madison spends $400,000 to study police, gets ‘few answers’ — while bullets fly | Stately Blaska Manor

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