As Koval departs Madison PD, city officials tasked with replacing him

MADISON (WKOW) — Now that Chief Mike Koval hasannounced his retirement, it’s up to several people to decide who will replace him.

The Police and Fire Commission said Sunday that it will soon announce its recruitment, testing, and evaluation plans for the appointment of Koval’s successor. On October 14, the commission plans to officially designate a department officer to act as chief during the appointment process.

Long-time alder Paul Skidmore said he knew Koval was considering retirement for about a year, but admitted that Sunday’s announcement took him by surprise. Skidmore said Koval respects those who he worked for and with, but also had that respect returned.

“He sweat the details,” he said. “He cared for people, he cared for his officers, and he cares for the people he represented.”

Koval faced his fair share of criticism during his tenure as chief. Community groups have been outspoken in the past about their distrust for the city’s top cop and his leadership. He addressed the criticism in his blog post announcing his retirement. He thanked the “haters” and said he drew strength from them. He was able to “hang on much longer” than he’d originally planned.

Skidmore said it will be challenging to complete the budget process with the chief leaving, but he said he has faith in the command staff to lead in the interim. Assistant Chief Vic Wahl will be the interim Chief of Police while the commission conducts its hiring process.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a statement Sunday that she hoped the commission will make sure the community and department members have significant input in the qualities they want to see for their next chief.

Skidmore also encouraged residents to get involved, asking that they reach out to their council members as well as the mayor’s office to share their thoughts.

“(The commission is) going to look to what does this community want, what does this community need, and then they’re going to solicit applications from individuals,” said Skidmore.

Koval is leaving with mixed emotions, something he mentioned in his blog Sunday. He acknowledged the “failure” to get the staffing levels needed to maintain service levels.

“The next chapter will have to examine reducing services and making more calls go to a “self-reporting” option since we don’t have enough cops to send to everything,” he wrote.

Skidmore said that he and others will continue the requests to get staffing levels up after the chief leaves. According to Koval, the department is short 31 officers.

More at WKOW 27 News

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