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Saturday, June 22, 2024

The committee submitted its final recommendations after four years of studying the dynamic between the police department and the city.

Ad Hoc Committee gives MPD 177 recommendations to improve relationship with community

The Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee released 177 recommendations to the city for ways to improve the relationship between the police department and community Friday, emphasizing ways to bolster trust by increasing civilian input and oversight.

The committee, made up of 12 volunteers, submitted its final report after four years of studying the dynamic between the police department and the city.

The goal of these recommendations is to build a foundation of trust from which the community and police department can collaboratively work to continue MPD’s tradition of community and problem-oriented policing, according to the city.

In an effort to elevate all voices and represent Madison’s diverse population, the committee suggested the department create an Office of Independent Monitor to respond to a Civilian Review Board in August. Madison Common Council accepted the proposal and has allocated $200 thousand of Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway’s 2020 budget to the item.

The Civilian Review Board will be comprised of diverse community members and also those with previous interaction with the department.

Additionally, the report encourages more open communication between the community and police department, with recommendations to address local crises — like town halls and expanded MPD engagement following critical or controversial incidents. 

The committee itself is a “work of love,” said committee co-Chair Keith Findley.

“This really is a work of love for the City of Madison and for all of its communities and residents, including those who sometimes clash with the police or feel marginalized,” Findley said. “[Also] for the committed police officers who work every day to keep our communities safe.”

They further suggested the police department participate in more community-initiated events and dress more casually when on duty at such events.

Other proposals were aimed at improving MPD’s relations with the Madison community — including addressing race and equity concerns and responding effectively to individuals in mental health crises — minimizing the need to resort to police use of force and improving accountability. 

“To its great credit, MPD has readily embraced a significant number of these recommendations and has already begun implementing many of them — even some that it was initially reluctant to accept,” the Ad Hoc’s report stated

Common Council is currently reviewing the committee’s recommendations and determining how to implement them within the department and Madison. 

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