We stand by our verdict of a month ago. Shouldn’t there, at least, be a tee shirt?
Thursday’s more complete exposition of the City of Madison’s $400,000 police proctology reveals a big nothing burger. (The full report here.)
The high-priced consultants from Berkeley California, tasked with finding evidence of invidious racism in Madison’s police force, concluded the MPD is “far from crisis.”
We soon learned of Madison and MPD’s well-deserved reputation as pioneers in police science and as a cradle of progressive “problem-oriented policing” strategies … for its response to issues involving the mentally ill, and its impressive strides in recruitment, hiring and increasing gender diversity among its ranks. And we were soon informed of the specialized officer programs focusing on community policing initiatives.
It does criticize the department for being too defensive to criticism. Yes, Police Chief Mike Koval did blow his top — but only after not a single elected official — not the mayor, not the alders — ever once defended the police against the slanders of the Black Lives Matter demagogues.
Police auditor Brenda Konkel?
The main takeaway, the most consequential recommendation from the consultants, remains a “police auditor” reporting to a new, city council-appointed commission. As we reported a month ago, state statute tightly prescribes municipal police departments; no authority exists for this bureaucratic add-on to the solely authorized Police and Fire Commission.
State statute 62.13 prescribes police governance. It is clear that only Police and Fire Commissions are authorized to oversee municipal police departments. 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.”
We repeat here: The OIR 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.
Otherwise, the report from the OIR Group boils down to
- More paperwork “Officers should prepare daily activity logs of their performance.” (They don’t fill out enough reports as it is?)
- A gaggle of “think abouts” and “remain open to’s” — as in body cameras and
- Stuff they’re already doing, as in (again) “remaining open to body cameras” and reaching out to minority communities. As the 254-page report notes:
Many of the Department’s policies and organizational structures are solid and often innovative, and their efforts to connect with all aspects of the public they serve are conscientious and often laudable.
Nonetheless, the OIR consultants want police to conduct town halls and listening sessions “after all critical incidents, including officer-involved shootings.”
Thumbs up or down at the Roman Coliseum
Did you see the cacophonous county board budget meeting over the new county jail? How the Derail the Jail people shouted down elected board members, most of them Progressive Dane or Democrats?
Can you imagine the local Black Lives Matter listening intently as Chief Koval explained to a packed school gymnasium the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Tony T. Robinson Jr.? Do you think for one second that BLM’s white affiliate, Progressive Dane, would raise hands to ask sincere questions?
And what could the chief actually say, pending the statutorily required WI Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into a fatal police shooting? Give me odds that such a session turn turns into a virtual lynch mob targeting the police?
In the Tony Robinson case, the district attorney, himself a man of color — elected and independent of the police — reviewed MPD’s internal investigation AND the independent DOJ report and made a dispassionate conclusion that the shooting was justified. He reported his conclusions in the open, before the public and the news media.
Should the rule of law by subjected to the passions of the mob?
The background for the OIR study is that 2013 Race to Equity report that reported racial disparity in arrests and incarceration. The OIR consultants share the assumption of elected Madison and Dane County officials that the disparity is due to racism most foul. It does not entertain the politically incorrect possibility that minority races are arrested and incarcerated disproportionately to their overall population because of a disproportionate commission of crime. Until that issue is addressed head-on and without equivocation, the minority community will continue to suffer.
The crazies are not quelled
The Common Council by a 19 to 1 vote (thank you, Ald. Skidmore) bought into the study as a means to quell the crazies. We have said from the beginning that will never happen.
M. Adams of Freedom Inc., a persistent cop hater, would institutionalize overt racism with separate but unequal policing. According to the State Journal, she wants “neighborhoods of similar races and income levels to fire officers, control police budgets and determine police priorities and policies.”
As noxious as it is unworkable.