The revolving door
” ‘The system’ is releasing people just as fast as arrests are made.”
We give today’s edition of your favorite blog over to Police Chief Mike Koval.
by Police Chief Mike Koval
Something that has particularly piqued my interest insofar as it has cast a light on a seriously flawed phenomenon—the failure of a juvenile justice system to properly prevent/intercede/treat/or hold accountable chronic offenders.
MPD has initiated public awareness campaigns across a host of social media platforms, public service announcements, neighborhood forums and watch meetings, leafletting and has even gone door-to-door on occasion to try to get folks to close garage doors, lock cars, and take simple steps to prevent being victimized.
We have worked collaboratively with families, mentors, not-for-profits, social service agencies, clergy, prosecutors, judges, schools and media to try to call attention to the fact that we have a group of juveniles who have effectively demonstrated that they are impervious to juvenile “justice” system(s) that lack sufficient resources to alter outcomes which can only lead to “adult” sanctions in the near future.
I am out in the public–a lot. People are frustrated over the stolen cars issue and want to know if we are making any headway, or more bluntly, “why don’t you make some arrests???”
I tell people, emphatically, that our cops ARE making arrests—they have not lost their zeal but they are becoming more disheartened that the complementary pieces of the “system” are releasing people just as fast as arrests are made. Stolen autos are the most visible touchstone for everyone’s malcontent but I can assure you that we have a revolving door malady that has become hard to ignore for a small but consequential group of juveniles.
By way of example, for the reporting period of 1/1/18-7/19/18, 32 juveniles have accounted for almost 22% of all of our juvenile contacts for incidents of property crime, crimes against persons, and stolen autos. Here is a snap shot:
32 Juveniles impact on police resources in the City:
- 37 stolen auto incidents
- 24 persons related incidents
- 46 property related incidents
- 1 drug related incident
Total of 108 incidents (roughly 9 incidents per month).
Officers report that when making arrests of some of these juveniles, they are wearing GPS monitoring devices attached from a previous court case. Increasingly, youthful offenders driving stolen vehicles are not hesitating to flee officers. Video obtained from some homeowners’ private cameras display a boldness that is both intentional and reckless. MPD is currently working a case where a number of juvenile offenders took part in breaking into a home and sexually assaulting a defenseless woman.
Someone stopped me in the street and pointed out that Wisconsin used to have a “joyriding” statute on the books and this is no different than what they experienced as a rite of passage growing up. Sort of a “kids will be kids” rationalization. I disagree(d). When you put a youthful and inexperienced driver behind the wheel of a two-ton bullet (car), the potential for a pursuit could lead to tragic results.
Additionally, we have had reports from constituents advising that in light of their personal fear of having their homes entered while still present, some are considering the purchase of a handgun for personal defense of their family. While the Castle Doctrine may be a viable legal defense, no one wants to have to deal with the taking of a life when a juvenile-burglar rifling through someone’s car in a garage ends up getting shot.
Our officers are well-acquainted with these offenders and are implementing focused deterrence initiatives in an attempt to take away the notion that juvenile offenders can move seamlessly about .
Visit the Chief’s blog here.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: District Attorney Ozanne, what have you to say? Dane County Board of Supervisors? Still more restorative justice? Madison Metropolitan School Board: you still want cops out of school? Who will be the first elected official to respond to Chief Koval’s alarm?