Madison’s police chief responds to claims of communication issues

Madison police chief says he’s working toward change

Madison’s Police Chief Noble Wray is responding to officer’s claims of a lack of communication between top bosses and officers.

In a letter to Mayor Paul Soglin, Wray says he’s committed to working with the police union on a way forward after the Stephen Heimsness controversy shook the department.

“Over the last couple of years, two of our primary department goals have included department leadership transformation and a focus on improving communication within the organization,” said Wray in the letter.

Wray said he suggested to Madison Professional Police Officers Association President Dan Frei they form a committee consisting of MPPOA board members and management team members to meet and discuss how the organization moves forward over the next three to six months.

Frei has said officers accept some blame for a negative culture but that the administration is responsible too.

“While we accept our share of the responsibility for this situation, the MPD’s administration and the lack of communication that exists between the officers and their managers has helped to contribute to these problems,” said Frei in a statement.

“Still, we are eager to work with the department, and for that purpose, we have called on Mayor Soglin to facilitate a collaborative effort to repair the work environment that has fostered the negative and inappropriate behavior of some of our members,” said Frei.

A spokeswoman for Soglin said he planned to be present at a meeting between Wray and Frei.

In his statement to Soglin, Wray said he was very disappointed with the union for questioning communication and leadership within the department.

Soglin said last week that negative language used between officers does not build trust and means police cannot get to the highest level of performance.

The union president said Wednesday he and the chief do continue to talk about communication issues.