Not adding 8!
The mayor of Madison WI says the budget she proposes for next calendar year adds 8 police officers. But it doesn’t — not really. The city is absorbing three-quarters of the Town of Madison, which has a force of 18 police officers protecting a population over 6,800 (before it began not filling vacancies in anticipation of its demise as a separate political entity). The City of Madison will absorb 5,000 of those residents.
Town of Madison Police Chief Scott Gregory tells Blaska Policy Werkes that an equitable division would send 12 police officers to Madison and 5 to the City of Fitchburg. According to our math, Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway proposes a reduction of 4 police officers.
“Overall, it appears law enforcement is being reduced, if someone were to ask me,” Chief Gregory told us. The City of “Madison is basically making the Town one beat on the south side. So, they are covering the Town with only one officer.”
Current City of Madison is purple; Fitchburg is orange; Town of Madison is green.
Red line demarcates new boundary.
The annexation does not fully take effect until 10-31-2022. That would delay the increased policing burden on the City of Madison until the last two months of next year. But it is also likely the City would put off hiring until then, which would still result in reduced protection. (Former County Executive Kathleen Falk would add sheriff’s deputies but put them on the payroll on December 31.) Don’t forget, the City of Madison also absorbs roughly three-quarters of the Town’s property values for taxation purposes, although the City contemplates a tax incremental finance district to upgrade infrastructure like curbs and gutters.
“The real question,” Chief Gregory adds, “is how many will the city council approve?”
Mayor Satya did manage to find money for her independent police monitor and Police Civilian Oversight Board: $459,308, a 1.9% increase. (The city police budget would increase 1.8%.) Last anyone noticed, that Woke tribunal was arguing over personal pronouns.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: We have taken the police oversight board to court for racial discrimination. The hope of the complainant is that the City will cut its losses and devote that half a million dollars to keeping Madison safe.