Madison police, scapegoated for society’s ills, demoralized and quitting the force

The Policy Werkes yields its allotted time to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval from his always must-read blog:

by Mike Koval, chief of police

mike-koval-madison-police-chief

It’s been happening all too frequently.  One of my officers makes an appointment with my administrative assistant.  I get to the meeting and the officer sitting across from me looks decidedly uncomfortable.  After exchanging pleasantries and getting up-to-date on family and personal dynamics, the issue at hand is ultimately reached; the officer is resigning.

The range of those leaving has been from those on probation (i.e., less than 18 months of service) and beyond.  When asked to expound upon their decision making process, the general themes provided from the departing officer are:  they are grateful for having had the experience to work at a progressive department like the MPD, they acclaim the training received, they appreciate the collegiality of their peers, and cite the laudable ambitions of people who are working tirelessly to achieve “BPR” (our term for “best possible resolutions).  That said, then why are YOU making this change?

While each and every individual’s story has unique elements, the common denominator through it all is the unrelenting toxicity of the incessant criticism and scapegoating of the police for society’s complex issues, the narratives about police as the foils of racism, the ever litigious world that is currently feeding/settling law suits on the backs of a “business model” of bottom line efficiencies rather than fighting on principles, and the increasingly dangerous working conditions that are faced on a daily basis. (For example, just last week, a 28-year-old Chicago police officer, a husband and a father, a two year veteran of CPD, was killed in the line of duty.  Our Honor Guard represented MPD at the funeral).

I have already commented on how our recruitment efforts have been sorely affected by the “climate” that is pervasively taking a toll on those who might contemplate serving as a police officer.  Now, our own agency has begun to feel the impact of early departures.  At MPD, where staffing levels are always the subject of much public debate, I can state unequivocally that officer morale has deteriorated as they are being asked to do more and more and can’t get off when they need to have that vitally important time for respite and mental health.  This is going to be a chronic discussion for years to come that far transcends the City’s fiscal capacities. . .it goes to the heart of recruitment, retention, health and wellness.

When I was blessed to gather for our own family’s recent Thanksgiving, I looked with love across the table at my own two adult sons; one has already found his soulmate and has a 7-month old son while the other is 27 and is head-over-heels in a committed relationship.  They remind me so much of my recruit officers — filled with hope, aspirational about doing good, and committed to making a difference.

My wife and I have raised our sons with unconditional love and support for whatever life’s pursuit(s) that they are passionate about.  But truth be told, I say a silent prayer of relief that neither son is interested in following the career path that I took.  The demands and sacrifices are not borne solely by the guardian who dares to take on the mantle of service, it affects the entire circle of support from family and friends.

Each Sunday, when I go to mass, we are always being asked to say prayers for an increase in vocations to religious life, which I do.  Only now — more than ever — I also pray for an increase in those responding to the “calling” of policing, for those individuals who believe in the nobility of a profession that is still grounded in the notions of justice, mercy, fundamental fairness, and service.

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About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in War on Police and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Madison police, scapegoated for society’s ills, demoralized and quitting the force

  1. Batman says:

    “Recruitment is hemorrhaging at the Madison Police Department. In just six years, the number of applicants has decreased from more than 1,508 to fewer than 500 in 2018. Let that sink in for a moment.
    If you’re concerned, would you please consider penning a letter-to-the-editor?”

    http://www.supportmadisonpolice.com/action-alert-write-to-local-newspapers-about-madison-pds-recruitment-challenges/

    “Cop Haters & Detractors: Be Careful What You Wish For
    Perhaps some of you see these numbers as some sort of victory. It’s really not. When you break good people’s spirits – which is what you’ve done – you push them away. Men and women will continue to apply, but reduced applicant numbers means, statistically speaking, that the quality of applicants will also likely dwindle.”

    http://www.supportmadisonpolice.com/madison-police-department-applicant-pool-hits-record-low/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Balboa says:

    One Word, “Sad”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Balboa: “SAD”.

    Like

  4. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    When I’m out running or walking and see a LE officer not involved in anything pressing, I walk up and thank them for their service; if they’re in a moving vehicle I wave.

    Random acts of gratitude let them know that not every inhabitant of the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality is a POS ”F**k The Police” Lefty.

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Black first says:

    To the one’s that are quittng or preparing to do so, I say good riddance. Speaking on myself and others, there are many awesome candidates that were turned down for various frivolous or nonsensical reasons during the strenuous hiring processes. Individuals with unquestioned integrity, work ethic, ethical, cultured to the citizens to which they’re policing and one’s that would never quit on the their fellow LEO’s.

    Madison Police Department and Wisconsin law enforcement agencies as a whole have a hiring issue that seems like it will never get addressed nore corrected.

    Like

    • KEITH says:

      Just your name speaks volumes of your ethics, so please STFU

      Liked by 1 person

      • Batman says:

        To Black first:
        Unlike Keith; Batman welcomes diversity of thought and encourages expression of diverse opinion/perspective on this site. Batman wants to see more comments from Black first and her/his cohorts. Echo chambers are boring.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

      @Black first;

      “To the one’s that are quittng or preparing to do so, I say good riddance.”

      Even if, like, you know, they’re minorities?

      “there are many awesome candidates that were turned down for various frivolous or nonsensical reasons during the strenuous hiring processes”

      Sure there were. Sooooo, a process as tightly handcuffed as the hiring of public service LE is “frivolous or nonsensical”?

      Sorry, your ”frivolous and nonsensical, and monumentally ill-informed opinion aren’t a substitute for empirical/verifiable facts, ergo, they don’t cut it; citation.

      “Individuals with unquestioned integrity, work ethic, ethical, cultured to the citizens to which they’re policing and one’s that would never quit on the their fellow LEO’s.”

      “Cultured?” Youse mean like Buttermilk? That’s not even close to being true.

      Delete all the crap: a couple of your imaginary friends with prior LE experience (READ: PRIORS), that had a voluminous CCAP file, that had references tell the truth, or that couldn’t pass either their written and/or piss test, got turned down; that about sum it up?

      Better yet, just skip all the flowery fluff and say what you really want; yer pals didn’t get hired because of racism.

      The Gotch

      Liked by 1 person

      • Black first says:

        Where in my comment did I ever mention race or ethnicity? Are you that gullible to the point that the name I chose to display identified my ethnicity?

        The way you responded to my vaild comment was to admonish me, without even knowing who I am.

        Based on your response, you believe that a black person who doesn’t get a LE position must have some sort of voluminous CCAP record or couldn’t pass a written exam and/or urinalysis. Well, that has to be the dumbest shit I’ve read in a while.

        It can’t be any racial biases or subjectivity in LE agency hiring practices. You asked for citation. Well, if there was written data to support this systemic issue, I sure wouldn’t be on a internet forum speaking on it. That would be a matter for Circuit Court.

        Furthermore what is supported by factual data is that Wisconsin has a black people problem. According the a 2013 UW- Milwaukee study, Wisconsin incarcerates more African American men then any other state in the union, even though the entire population is under 6% statewide. Dane County jail has a 40% African American inmate population, but their Sheriff Deputy demographic doesn’t seem to reflect that same percentage.

        The rational solution would be to hire more qualified people of color to address this habitual problem. To not do so, tells me that it’s not a issue that Madison nore the state has any ambition to correct.

        Like

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @Black first;

          you believe that a black person who doesn’t get a LE position must have some sort of voluminous CCAP record or couldn’t pass a written exam and/or urinalysis.” (bolds mine)

          To borrow a phrase: “Where in my comment did I ever mention race or ethnicity?”

          “that has to be the dumbest shit I’ve read in a while.”

          Your response nudges it to a distant second.

          “That would be a matter for Circuit Court.”

          Bypassing the required EEOC complaint, are we?

          “To not do so, tells me that it’s not a issue that Madison nore (sic) the state has any ambition to correct.”

          There exists one-party rule in Madison & Dane County, it’s been that way for a loooooooooooong time; perhaps taking it up with them might be a place to start?

          The Gotch

          Like

        • Patrick M. O'Loughlin says:

          “According the a 2013 UW- Milwaukee study, Wisconsin incarcerates more African American men then any other state in the union, even though the entire population is under 6% statewide.”

          And the same study concluded that wet streets cause rain.

          Like

    • madisonexpat says:

      What you mean is that they didn’t hire you. Apparently they want someone to be a good cop first and a color second.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mindyk@tds.net says:

      Could you have been turned down for your negative attitude?

      Like

    • Black first,
      If you want to be taken seriously about anything you write then immediately apologize for picking a pseudonym that implies you’re a trolling racist and immediately change it.

      Have a nice day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Black first says:

        Oh, I get it. The content is disregarded because of a name that implies nothing more than that, a name, fictional nonetheless.

        Interpret “Black first” however you wish, if you fail to see the forest through the tree, it’s a personal problem.

        Like

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @Black first;

          “Interpret ‘Black first’ however you wish”

          Won’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll venture a guess that youse want, nay demand different (READ: Special!) treatment because of yer melanin content.

          Speaking of content, seems MLK Jr. had something to say on that subject, am I right?

          Anywho, how do youse intend your commenting handle to be interpreted by us the benighted?

          Did youse just pull it out of a hat or did youse lose a bet?

          The Gotch

          Like

        • Well, well Hankdog returns.

          Like

        • Black first wrote, “Oh, I get it. The content is disregarded because of a name that implies nothing more than that, a name, fictional nonetheless.”

          So you think we are just supposed to no call out a racist troll.

          How about I start trolling this blog with a brand new “fictional” new pseudonym White First, I’m sure none of the social justice warrior cult would mind that that at all, afterall, it’s nothing more than a name. Of course that’s probably your trolling goal here, to get someone to sarcastically do something like that so the Madison social justice warrior cult of idiotic fools can deem everyone and everything about this blog as being racist.

          Guess what Black first, you’re the only racist here.

          Like

        • old baldy says:

          “fictional” new pseudonym” : You mean a fake, fake name?

          Definition of pseudonym
          : a fictitious name (Merriam-Webster)

          Like

        • A true sign of the mindset of an internet troll is when that troll cherry picks something from a comment when the purpose of that cherry picked thing is completely clear due to its previous quoted reference and then attempts to use that cherry picked thing as some kind of tangential deflection or insult to imply some kind of ignorance. What’s funny about these kinds of cherry picking trolls that attempt this kind of attack the messenger poppycock without addressing anything relevant to the comment itself is that it makes the cherry picking troll look like a damn fool.

          Like

        • madisonexpat says:

          Which syllable in your pseudonym do you NOT understand?

          Like

        • By the way; with the help of friends that never get rid of anything it’s easy figure out that the person behind this new Black First pseudonym is the same person that was behind the old madison.com trolling pseudonyms Hankdog aka Umgwana aka FartInTheWind and quite likely a few others. Madison.com allowed this same in-house staff troll to “control” their comment threads and infect them with their Progressive cant, to see the likes of this troll rearing his ugly head here on Blaska’s blog is a testament to Blaska’s influence in the Madison area.

          You Rock Blaska!

          Keep it up!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

          @Zoltar Speaks!;

          Sigh! fond reminiscences (“misty water-colored memories” if you’s prefer) of the halcyon days of yore: Open Season of bi**hs**p***g hyper-partisan madison.com Lefties

          “Umgwana aka FartInTheWind”?

          The full complement, (highfreakin’lariously thinking they were fooling everyone else ala @hankdog/old baldy) was: FITW/Umgwana/Kakunugi/mysterguest/KickiceWis, who incuriously disappeared ~ 30 hours after posting:

          KickiceWis Nov 7, 2016 1:26pm: That’s nice. Start practicing M-a-d-a-m P-r-e-s-i-d-e-n-t

          KickiceWis Nov 7, 2016 3:24pm: You are going to have a very rough evening tomorrow aren’t you?

          11/08/2016: Lefty’s Pearl Harbor!

          The Gotch

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandy Bakk says:

    I will also add prayers for our officers to my prayers at mass and other times. In grateful for their service and increasingly dangerous service. Where would we be without them?

    Like

  7. SergeantMF says:

    I know from experience, a complimentary word in briefing or in passing it the hall at the PD goes a long ways towards holding the line on morale. From support staff to the chief, recognition of a good day’s work and a little “cheer leading” goes a long ways towards one’s attitude. From the outside looking in at MPD, I think this chief has his head on straight.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michael Hawk says:

    Wah! Everybody hates me cuz I suck at my job and refuse to get better! Wah!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jess Anderson says:

    I don’t get “Werkes” in your blog title. A reference to a motorcycle exhaust systerm, a Middle English or German usage of some kind, or what?

    Like

  10. wadwizard says:

    It is ironic that Madison has one of the best police departments, personnel and chief, anywhere. Support them, be thankful for them, work with them, and cooperate with them. And, for God’s sake, get out of their way and let them do their jobs.

    Like

  11. Batman says:

    What’s a hankdog?

    Like

    • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

      @Batman;

      @hankdog was a Lefty poster at the all but defunct madison.com.

      He’s @old baldy for this blog, a FAR more accurate handle considering his being follicularly challenged.

      He hilariously thinks he’s fooling everyone; sadly, and to no one’s surprise, he’s only fooling himself.

      The Gotch

      Like

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