Cops say mayor’s second guessing
puts officers at risk
A former liberal talk radio host is proposing Madison residents shine a blue lightbulb at their front door to show their support for police. Blaska responded that he would have none of it until the rank-and-file police officers themselves show some spine.
Now, apparently, they have! The president of the Madison police union issued a sharply worded letter to Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway calling her recent criticism of a police action “extraordinary disappointing” and of “enormous concern to our members.” The flash point was the mayor’s rush to judgment of the handling of an involuntary mental health commitment — before the official review of that incident has been completed.
‘Disparaged our credibility’
In an undated letter to Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway, Kelly Powers, president of the Madison Professional Police Officers Assn. wrote (my emphasis):
What should our officers take away from your most recent blog? Despite how the laws, rules, policies, and training might ordinarily govern their actions, should they now be told to first ask themselves “What would Mayor Rhodes-Conway do?” …
While your blog talks much about fair treatment and a sense of justice, that is exactly what your words served to deny the men and women who risk their lives to protect this community. In rendering your judgments on the basis of limited information, you have served to undermine the external investigation that is ongoing and incorrectly disparaged the credibility of the public body that oversees the Madison Police Department.
MPPOA president Powers was responding to the mayor’s blog of August 6 wherein she stated:
“The officer’s actions may or may not have violated the law; and may or may not have violated MPD policy; however, police actions in this incident are not and will never be acceptable as best practice in the City of Madison.”
The police union president retorted:
Would you suggest that we dispense with an external review (after all, you have already registered your belief that the outcome of that review doesn’t really matter) and fire the officer involved on the basis of how badly a video clip of the incident looked on the news? I certainly hope not. Just as a criminal defendant must be given the presumption of innocence pending a complete investigation and trial, so should officers under scrutiny for their line-of-duty actions.
Police made this bed
The pity in all this is the MPPOA endorsed Satya Rhodes Conway for mayor! The mayor IS Progressive Dane, just like Madame Brenda. Derail the Jail. Cops out of our Schools. Freedom Inc. The whole nine yards. It’s in their PLATFORM! What were the police thinking?
Mayor Rhodes Conway has played true to Progressive Dane form. In office just four months, Rhodes Conway:
• Appointed Brenda Konkel to the Public Safety Committee. So anti-cop is Madame Brenda that the police union once erected a billboard to defeat her bid for re-election as alder.
• The new mayor appointed another cop-basher nicknamed Dr. Gobbledygook to the Police Policy & Procedures ad hoc Review Committee. The man is a key figure in the anti-cop Community Response Team headed by Amelia Royko-Maurer.
• That ad hoc committee is now in its fourth year of trying to micro-manage the police department.
• One of its recommendations is the creation of a citizen review committee composed of felons, squatters, illegal aliens, and addicts. Yes, they would sit in judgment of police. The Common Council this week gave preliminary approval to the idea. More here.
• The Council also honored racial arsonist Brandi Grayson, who shut down rush hour traffic in her bid to free 350 jail inmates at random.
• After Mayor Satya bullyragged the police over a misleading smartphone video of police attempting to subdue a mentally ill young man who had been referred to protective custody she proposed hiring a “black mental health practitioner,” whatever that is. (Is there such a thing as black mental health or must the practitioner be of dark hue?)
It’s about time
Longtime police advocate Paula Fitzsimmons expressed her frustration to police union president Powers this way:
What I don’t understand, Officer Powers, is the deafening silence emanating from your union. The only MPD person I ever hear speaking up for MPD is Chief Koval. … Progressive Dane is wiping the floor with you.
Even a former Madison liberal talk show host has had enough. He posted this on Facebook: “It is very clear that Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway has fired the first salvo at Chief Mike Koval and MPD. In her efforts to placate a small group of radicals like M Adams and Brandi Grayson, they are hellbent on destroying one of the best police departments in the country.”
Choosing his words carefully, Police Chief Mike Koval fought back on the Vicki McKenna show on WIBA 1310 AM this week. He called the mayor’s comments “exploitative, wholly unnecessary,” and “piling on.” Koval noted that Madison PD is one of eight departments lauded by the U.S. Department of Justice for mental health best practices.
The New York Post reports 97% of New York police distrust their mayor, Bill de Blasio, Democrat(ic) candidate for President. (“Crime and non-punishment in NYC.”) A while back, New York police officers turned their backs when de Blasio spoke at the funeral of a slain officer. The Madison teachers union does not shy from flexing its muscle. Freedom Inc. feels free to disrupt meetings. Police should exercise their concern — within the law, of course.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: The police union has put Progressive Dane on notice but it will have to do much more. Madison isn’t dousing its police with bucket of water like they do in New York. Yet.