At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Bob Courtney announced a new safety initiative, which will focus on the review of the Madison Police Department policies and procedures. A steering committee will be created to accomplish this review.
"Community safety is our top priority. Each year the Madison Police Department addresses thousands of calls and engages in tens of thousands of personal interactions with very few culminating in arrest. It is important that we continually evaluate the procedures within our police department to best keep our community safe," said Mayor Bob Courtney.
The committee will be chaired by Chief John Wallace and will consist of one representative from each of the following groups: City of Madison Police Department, the Mayor’s Office, the Commission on Human Relations, City Council, and a citizen member. "We believe forming a diverse group with differing opinions will benefit the community and improve policies and training inside our police department," said Mayor Courtney
The committee will spend the next four months reviewing and evaluating the policy recommendations made by the Legal Liability and Risk Management Institute, a third-party entity retained by the Board of Public Works and Safety (BPWS). During this process, the committee will make policy and procedure suggestions to the Police Merit Board and the BPWS. This review process will be broken down into two stages.
During stage one, the committee will focus on reviewing pursuits and emergency driving, use of force, weapons and equipment, evidence and property control, transportation and processing of persons in custody, proper use of chemical agents and tasers, and the use of wearable cameras.
During stage two, the committee will focus on creating policies that are not currently in place but will enhance officers’ training and interaction with the community. This will include policies on diversity training, racial profiling, internal investigations, stop, arrest, and search procedures, early warning and intervention, duty to disclose, foot pursuits, and media implications.
"Now is the time to form this committee and accelerate progress and complement the results that Chief Wallace and his team have already accomplished. Improving our policies allows us to improve training, and better training allows us to respond to the community needs more effectively," said Mayor Courtney.
At this time, committee members have not been named. Mayor Courtney plans to work with Chief Wallace to finalize this decision over the next two weeks.