Madison alders accept recommendations from ad hoc police review committee

MADISON (WKOW) — The Madison Common Council has voted to accept two recommendations aimed at improving police and community relations from an ad hoc police review committee.

Calls for the community to address police use of force reached a fever pitch in 2015, resulting in the city forming the committee. This came along a few months after the shooting of Tony Robinson by Madison Police Officer Matt Kenney.

On Tuesday, Robinson’s grandmother Sharon Irwin spoke to the council in support of accepting one of the recommendations, which would allow staff to begin working on the creation of a citizen’s police review board and an independent auditor.

The auditor would review police procedures and report directly to the civilian review board. The board, which many hope would be made up of a diverse group of Madison citizens, would then create a way for community members to have oversight of the department.

“I do this. I am the review committee,” Irwin told alders. “I’ve been fighting for this for four and a half years. This is the most important thing you can do.”

The second recommendation approved Tuesday suggests establishing a way to learn from critical police incidents, like an officer-involved shooting.

Some alders raised concerns that they were seeing two recommendations ahead of the committee’s final report, which is set to be finished later this fall. Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney told members she would abstain from the vote out of concern that she hasn’t seen the report as a whole. But she said she respects the hard work of the committee over the past several years.

The majority of alders voted in favor, with at least one alder saying no. Two alders, Harringon-McKinney and Paul Skidmore, abstained.

Ad hoc committee co-chair Keth Findley told 27 News after the meeting that he appreciated the alder’s position but said the recommendation to create a review board and auditor position were the base for all the others.

“Even if none of the rest of that existed, that recommendation would be the one that the committee would be forwarding,” he said. “We still believe it makes sense to pull it out and let the city council start working on that right away.”

The second recommendation, the way to learn from police incidents, is time sensitive because the city could qualify for a grant from the federal Department of Justice.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway told 27 News after the meeting that she is still looking forward to the final report, but thought the recommendations were part of a direction in which the city should move.

The auditor position would have fiscal impacts so Rhodes-Conway said it will be included in budget talks. They will also begin working on a way to see how the review board could happen, but there was no timeline on that decision.

Police Chief Mike Koval was not at Tuesday night’s meeting. He spoke with 27 News ahead of the vote.You can find that story here.

More at WKOW 27 News

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content