It’s all over but the shouting. The Madison Common Council is poised tonight (01-21-2020) to endorse the 180-page (!!!) report of its Police Policy & Procedure Review ad hoc committee. (The Council agenda here.) That committee began picking nits three-plus years ago after the City hired an outside boutique to study Madison police, which in turn followed the fatal police shooting of a young black man, Tony T. Robinson Jr. in 2015.
We blogged it here.
The report makes a staggering 177 recommendations. The capstone recommendation has already been budgeted — $200,000/year to create the position of a police “monitor.” That monitor would report to a civilian review board. Monitor and civilian board would compete, it seems here, with the statutorily sanctioned Police & Fire Commission.
Blaska Policy Werkes again warns that monitor and review board will either deal itself endless hands of Solitaire like the Maytag repairman or — this being Madison — hobble police with scores of petty complaints.
Monitor and review board would have:
- full access to all MPD records
- subpoena power
- investigative powers
- the authority to make policy recommendations.
That review board would — get this — be populated “not only along typical race and gender lines, but also by requiring a critical mass of individuals with lived experiences of the types most salient to police-community relations, including mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, and arrest and incarceration experiences.” In other words, Blaska need not apply.
Hasn’t worked elsewhere
The report actually admits that “other communities have attempted civilian oversight through an independent auditor and civilian review board, with notably mixed results.”
Ominously telling is the degree to which Amelia Royko Maurer’s Community Response Team influenced the final report, even placing one of its few members, Greg Gelembiuk, on the 12-member committee. The Mauer-Gelembiuk special interest group is referenced a whopping 44 times in the report. That group was one of the constituents of the Cops Out of Schools, Derail the Jail efforts, along with Progressive Dane and Freedom Inc. and the local Black Lives Matter franchise.
Is Robert Mueller available?
When MPD receives a complaint against the Chief of Police or high-ranking MPD command staff, the Independent Monitor should review the complaint and decide whether an outside investigator should be appointed and produce a transparent public document about that decision-making process. If the PFC receives a complaint against the Chief of Police or high-ranking MPD command staff, it should consider retaining an outside investigator to conduct an independent investigation.
The city should institute protocols calling for a performance evaluation process that includes members of the community, prioritizing socio-economic diversity among those members, for the Chief of Police at fixed intervals, with the evaluation being a potential basis for a finding of “cause” should the Chief’s performance fall significantly below community expectations. This evaluation should not be conducted by the PFC.
The ad hoc committee also suggests encouraging scofflaws not to pay their tickets or fines on annual “Unpaid Ticket Resolution Days.”