A municipal committee has chosen a California police consulting firm to conduct a $400,000 study of the policy and practices of the Madison Police Department.

The consulting firm, OIR Group, will conduct a study to identify problems and make recommendations to MPD pending city council approval.

Like many cities across the country, the relationship between MPD and the communities it serves has become strained in the wake of high profile police actions involving the use of force, most recently in the arrest of Genele Laird .

MPD Chief Mike Koval had previously opposed the implementation of the study over concerns that it would be wasteful.

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OIR Group presented themselves to the 14 community members that comprise the Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Committee as an organization free from police ties and instead focused on community oversight, committee member Keith Findley said. The two other firms, on the other hand, were seen as having associations with federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Though there were three finalist consulting firms, the committee was primarily interested in two firms — OIR and Hillard Heintze. Despite committee members agreeing that both firms had highly qualified teams, there was some contention over which choice would more greatly create sustained change within the MPD.

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Sean Saiz, a committee member, asserted that Hillard Heintze ought to be the choice given their strong written application and robust history of working with law enforcement agencies. He said OIR had not demonstrated a similar thoroughness in their application process.

“Wow, I guess we read different proposals,” Saiz said after hearing several of his colleagues commend OIR.

But Saiz’s vocal opposition failed to sway any of his fellow committee members before the vote.

The committee voted 12-2 in favor of recommending the consulting group to the city council for further approval Oct. 18.