Chief Koval vows to go after Madison's "most egregious offenders" in respon

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Police Chief Mike Koval announced via blog post Thursday morning "there will be more focused deterrence and arrest initiatives taking place" in response to the city's recent rash of gun violence that has resulted in ten homicides so far this year.

"For the next few weeks, individuals who have been identified and vetted as some of our most egregious offenders and gang members are going to be sought and separated from our midst.  While there may not be sufficient evidence to charge these individuals with specific "shots fired" calls or a unique homicide, there is ample probable cause to arrest for other offenses," wrote Chief Koval. "The common denominator is that all are currently wanted for various crimes or have holds entered by the Department of Corrections. Many are members of street gangs and we have knowledge that these individuals have access to guns, have threatened the use of guns or are hanging out with individuals who commit crimes with guns. A resounding message must be sent in clear and unequivocal terms:  we know who you are---your ability to stay anonymous is no longer a luxury you can rely on and we are holding you accountable for your actions."

Chief Koval went on to write that the "egregious offenders" comprise a relatively small group of people."In looking at our current situation, I have come to the conclusion that there are four or five dozen people that are holding a city of a quarter of a million hostage to our fears. Whenever we have an incident command post following a serious shooting or homicide, I am always amazed that the same names keep coming up on every board!," wrote Chief Koval.Chief Koval also tried to stress there will not any random enforcement."The last thing we want at MPD is to create a misperception that there is a perpetual "blue blanket" that has been assembled to stop/ticket/arrest anything that looks remotely suspicious. That is simply not going to be the case.  Also, this initiative will not be a pretext for any sort of profiling; MPD has never used this tactic and never will," wrote Chief Koval.Community leaders who are also working to stop the violence are questioning Chief Koval's approach.

"From a public perspective, in my mind it makes it appear that we're talking about the problem stemming from so-called black people in the community," said Caliph Muab-El, a member of the Focused Interrupted Coalition. "The people that I believe he has in mind only probably make up close to about 20 percent of the homicides probably taking place - probably even less than that."

Muab-El worries there will be push back from some of the communities where the targeted offenders live.

"I am very mindful of those unintended consequences, which is why I'm trying to be so intentional about what this is and what this isn't," said Chief Koval, who reiterated that it is not racial profiling.

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