Langdon Street’s former Neighborhood Resource Officer Damion Figueroa resigned from the Madison Police Department Tuesday.
Figueroa said his resignation is in response to politics affecting MPD’s policing decisions.
“When I started to find out more about the politics, how charges were being issued in our community, how certain decisions were being made, I ultimately couldn’t believe in some of those things anymore and had to make the decision to step down,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa served as Langdon Street Neighborhood Resource Officer for the past two years, although the Madison Police Department announced the removal of his position in October. Figueroa was set to continue in his position until Jan. 26.
Now, with no officer designated to the area, some students feel concerned with what his resignation means for Langdon Street safety, according to Interfraternity Council President Joey Levin.
“Officer Figueroa resigning two months early is a tremendous loss for the Langdon area,” Levin said. “He was highly respected by many of the fraternities and sororities he worked with. This also leads to the inevitable question: What does this mean for the Langdon community for the rest of the year?”
The position of Resource Officer was removed because of chronic understaffing and underfunding problems in the MPD, according to Figueroa. In order to make Madison safer, Figueroa believes these problems need to be addressed.
“I overall think we need more cops,“ Figueroa said. “To be more effective, you need more people to be able to put parts in place — without people, there's a lack of staffing.”
Figueroa’s resignation comes almost concurrently with Madison’s City Council decision to allocate three new MPD officers to Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway’s 2020 operating budget.
Additionally, earlier in November, UW Police Department created a new Downtown Liaison Officer position that will serve popular student neighborhoods, including Langdon, according to Chief Kristen Roman.
Following his resignation, Figueroa will be moving to St. Louis and taking a break from police work for the time being.
“My biggest goal was to just make sure that everybody had somebody to go to if they need something and to make the community a little bit safer,” Figueroa said.
UWPD will hold public listening sessions to discuss off-campus safety next Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Thursday, Nov. 21.