Madison City Council Considers Extra Funding For Police Review

Madison Police Chief Michael Koval.

The Madison Common Council is set to vote on Tuesday night on a measure that would add an additional $350,000 to a study of police policies and procedures.

Last fall, the council formed an ad hoc committee to complete the review after unarmed black teen Tony Robinson was shot and killed by a Madison police officer. Originally, $50,000 was set aside.The money would come from the city’s contingent reserve fund. 

Police Chief Mike Koval said he doesn’t mind the department being investigated, but he would prefer the money come from the city’s 2017 budget.

“It just seems to be counterintuitive in terms of what the city has to do,” he said. “And frankly, I need to have a lot of things next year. I need to have a midtown district station, I’d like more officers.”

In a blog post that took a sarcastic tone, Koval expressed his disapproval of the measure and challenged council members:

“To the Common Council: You are being watched. And be on notice: this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD is constantly used as a political punching bag and you are nowhere to be found.”

District 5 Alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff said there’s a sense of urgency from Madison’s communities of color to quickly complete a thorough review of police policies and procedures. 

“It was clearly heard from our communities of color the sense of urgency around this work, around wanting to use this work to really start building better trust and understanding about work that our police department does,” she said. 

If passed, the measure would reduce the city’s contingent reserve fund to $514,837.