Survey finds most want new MPD chief to focus on community trust, officer accountability

Madison police

MADISON, Wis. — People responding to a city survey on what they want from a new police chief say trust and accountability should be at the top of the new chief’s mind.

The City of Madison’s Police and Fire Commission went over results from the city’s chief search survey at their most recent meeting. The survey asks four questions, asking participants to choose the three most important qualities or skills they want to see in the next police chief, what they would like to see the new chief focus on in the next two to three years, which crime or enforcement issues they would like the next chief to prioritize, and an open response question asking participants to share anything else they want the commission to know during the search.

Through September 21st, more than 500 people had responded.

In answering the first question on qualities they wanted to see in the new chief, 31.8% said they want the person to be a strong leader. That was the top response, followed by “Promotes racial, gender, thought diversity in their department” (29.12%), “Experience leading a police department” (28.93%), “Commitment to community policing” (28.74%), “Transparency” (27.78%) and “Track record of implementing cultural change” (26.44%).

Chief Qualities Survey

In the second question, asking what the new chief should focus on, saw an overwhelming desire to build community trust. More than 59% of the people who responded said that should be the new chief’s priority, followed by demonstrating officers will be held accountable for their actions (52.78%), reducing crime (49.52%) and demilitarizing the department (45.11%). Changing the department culture (32.25%) and releasing body camera footage within 72 hours of a use-of-force incident (32.25%) were also among the top responses.

Chief Priorities Survey

In the wake of a spike in shots-fired cases in the city this year, the vast majority of people surveyed (80.96%) said they want the next chief to prioritize violent crime. More than half of people who responded (53.65%) also said reports of hate crimes should also be a top priority.

The survey is still ongoing and open for responses here.