The Madison Common Council accepted the final report from the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee Tuesday night.
The report laid out 177 recommendations for MPD in an effort to strengthen Madison’s police force.
The report was finalized after the 12 committee members met regularly for four years to determine recommendations, including the use of body-worn cameras for officers, the creation of an independent auditor office that would monitor MPD and the creation of a civilian review board the auditor would report to.
Many citizens expressed their support for the report. Amelia Royko Maurer, a safe policing advocate in Madison, said she believes the report will both improve the safety of officers and ensure those being policed are treated fairly.
“I am so proud of this city and I am so grateful that people made this a priority,” Maurer said. “It’s a bold step in the right direction.”
Eric Howland, president of Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality and Solidarity, said he believes the report will help improve racial disparities within Dane County’s criminal justice system.
Not everyone in attendance was in support of the report. David Glomp said both the independent auditor office and the civilian review board would be redundant, as there is already a Police and Fire Commission that oversees MPD.
“When several entities have the same responsibilities it creates both public confusion and potential conflict in jurisdiction,” Glomp said. “While I applaud the intent of the civilian oversight in the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations I have to ask why are they needed in light of the current existence of the PFC?”
After this question was raised, Ald. Paul Skidmore asked city attorney Michael May if the independent monitor would have any authority beyond making recommendations. May said he believed the monitor’s main role would be to provide oversight over MPD and to make recommendations, with no other authority.
The movement to accept the report was adopted with only Ald. Skidmore voting no and Ald. Sheri Carter abstaining.
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Ald. Skidmore said he voted against the report because he did not believe the independent monitor was warranted.
Ald. Marsha Rummel said she believed this report would help MPD become the best police force Madison can afford to have. Maurer said she was hopeful about the change the report would make.
“We’ve had the opportunity in this process to see city government and the community members that it has appointed to fulfill their potential in making sure that a real, fair and balanced product has been created in this report,” Maurer said. “There is no doubt in my mind that it will save lives and improve the health of everybody involved.”