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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
In his quarterly report, MPD Chief Mike Koval highlighted an increase in gunshot incidents and heroin overdoses compared to the first quarter of 2017. 

In his quarterly report, MPD Chief Mike Koval highlighted an increase in gunshot incidents and heroin overdoses compared to the first quarter of 2017. 

According to quarterly MPD report, gunshots and heroin overdoses are on the rise

MPD Chief Mike Koval presented his quarterly police report to Madison’s Common Council Tuesday, highlighting a spike in gun shots and heroin overdoses since the start of the year.

The update, which covered a variety of crime statistics, reported 48 shots fired incidents, a 33 percent increase from the first quarter of 2017. Koval said most of these incidents arose out of domestic situations and drug deals, along with some incidents that had begun as social media disputes.

However, he noted there were no instances of officers discharging firearms.

The chief also reported 61 heroin overdoses, nine of which resulted in deaths. Those totals are an 11 percent and 13 percent increase respectively from this time last year.

The report contained a disclaimer that the figure only represented overdoses known to the police department, who acknowledges there may be many that they do not know of. The chief attributed the unreported nature of many cases to the availability of Narcan, a nasal spray bought over-the-counter that can help counteract effects of a heroin overdose.

According to Koval, the availability of Narcan also means many of the overdoses police encounter are more dire because Narcan has already been administered. Additionally, Koval noted the rise in overdose deaths could be due to the increased purity of heroin as well as the mix of heroin with Fentanyl, a strong opioid.

In response to requests for city leaders, the police chief included data regarding time spent working with individuals encountering mental health emergencies, which in the first quarter totaled more than 4,500 hours of police work and 47 emergency detentions.

Currently, in accordance with state law, Madison police are required to take any individuals dealing with non-criminal mental health emergencies to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, 90 miles from Madison.

When asked about the possibility of a new mental health facility in Middleton being utilized in place of Winnebago, Koval answered that it was unlikely, citing the Middleton facility’s for-profit nature.

Koval also touched on the subject of body cameras, noting he would be willing and able to implement a trial program on the North Side of Madison if the city decided to provide the funds.

“We will adopt those affirmative steps that this body and the mayor decides is appropriate when the community is ready for that in terms of transparency and accountability,” Koval said. “We have always said that … we would be happy to pilot a program.”

Council elects new president and vice president for upcoming year

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The Common Council also appointed new executive officers for the 2018-'19 term, promoting Ald. Samba Baldeh, District 17, to council president after service as vice president and electing Ald. Sheri Carter, District 14, to the position. Former President Marsha Rummel, District 6, will continue as a member of the council. 2018-'19 marks the first time that two representatives of color were elected to the president and vice president roles.

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