City council approves review of MPD policies

Madison Police Department

Madison’s City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that will review the entire way the Madison Police Department works and its policies.

The policy allowing officers across the country to use deadly force, like officer Matthew Kenny used in the Tony Robinson case, was included in a council resolution that passed Tuesday night.

The resolution includes the potential to hire up to $50,000 worth of experts and name a community task force to look at MPD’s policies.

The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition and their supporters are opposed to the idea of having an expert and an appointed community panel look at police policies.

“We need poor black communities, and I emphasize poor and not mainstream black communities, because I think they should be a significant part of this because those are the communities most impacted,” said M Adams, with YBGC.

While the proposal talks about including diverse backgrounds, including African-American, Asian, Latino and diverse ages, those who oppose the proposal say it’s not specific enough.

“On the resolution you say you want to include Asian communities, but what does that even look like? What does that mean?” said Kabzuag Vaj, with Freedom Inc.

“If there is to be a study, it should be how are we to affect community control over police,” said Eric Upchurch, with YGBC.

YGBC leaders said the community needs to have a say in who’s fired and fired, and police have to live in their communities.

“If we are to effectively eradicate what’s happening in our communities at the hands of our police department, then we must include those most impacted,” said Brandi Grayson, with YGBC.

The version of the proposal that passed Tuesday night leaves it up to Mayor Paul Soglin to name the committee members. The committee will decide what experts would be used. It will be up to the council to approve them and how to spend the $50,000.

Police Chief Mike Koval has said a Supreme Court decision means the use of deadly force is off the table. “That’s the standard cops are trained in across the county,” said Koval. “So you can’t very well discard it to the curb.”

However, he does welcome getting some feedback from residents about his department’s policies. “I do think that once they get deeper into the analysis of what we’re doing, look at our policies, look at our procedures, I think they’re going to be pleasantly surprised on many fronts,” said Koval.

The council president said they do plan on studying the issue.