Madison Common Council adds 3 extra police officers
Spurns extra firefighters and ambulance
A downtown resident and business owner gave compelling testimony Tuesday night (11-12-19) urging the Madison Common Council to add more police officers. Her name is Saundra Meuer and she grew up in this town and also works at a downtown senior adult center. She was among the many who spoke Tuesday night urging more police, including Yours Truly, two students living on Langdon Street — now bereft of a Madison police officer — and a wonderful police officer named Nick Cleary, who said his family is considering moving out of the city:
Nobody should feel hostage in own city but my wife, the wife of a police officer, doesn’t always not feel comfortable taking our two daughters out in public. She has a fear of having purse taken from her shoulder, her car taken or even having our vehicle crashed into by reckless or impaired drivers. ... On a daily basis at work I am told how I am told by general public how unsettling basic errands have become in our city.
But Saundra’s Meuer’s testimony was the most compelling. This is a partial transcription:
I now live downtown, own a business downtown and work at a retirement center downtown. I have attended countless committees and task forces and have yet to see any substantial action taken by this chamber to address the decline in the quality of life — especially in the downtown.
Add more police officers to address the aggressive panhandling, the camping, the public urination and the dangerous thugs and gangs that haunt the Square, State Street, the end of the university and all of the Mifflin and Capitol neighborhoods.
What is it going to take before some action is taken? Are we going to let Madison slide to what San Francisco and L.A. has become? … Does it mean some innocent child, or resident, or visitor be at wrong place and time and be shot?
… (at a meeting) I was told by folks in this chamber … what do you expect? You live downtown!
I expect this body before me to take action, to give us public safety. To support the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line. Our officers need the handcuffs taken off them, give them the tools. Is it any wonder our police chief quit when the budget he was given looked like Wisconsin swiss cheese.
What do I expect? I expect the downtown neighborhoods and business owners get the same privilege you folks enjoy. You don’t have to walk over people, move trash bags, deal with aggressive panhandlers who come into your business and interrupt customers. We have squatters outside and have to moved them before we can open our business!
What do I expect? I expect downtown residents to have the same privileges that you do, that we walk out our front door and don’t have to wonder what is under that tarp. Is it a gun? Is it three people? Do they want my money? Do they want my wallet? Do they want to ‘cap me’ because they’re trying to get their gang initiation in Chicago?
I am confronted 4, 5, 6 , 7 times a day by aggressive panhandlers and thugs walking down State street and the top of Mifflin.… and I worry about the retirees I work with and wish they only had to fear the ice and snow on the sidewalk — not the drug deals, and the panhandlers, and the thugs out to hurt the most vulnerable populations in downtown Madison.
For further research: “Homeowner frustrated that man who burglarized his home continues to be let out of jail” — Channel 3000.