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District 3


Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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District 3 Blog

What 'Respect' Means in Public Service

April 30, 2017 11:01 AM

Hi neighbors,

I want to talk with you today about what support looks like. Support is a term that we use in everything from donating to a good cause to shopping for sports bras, but today I want to talk with you about supporting our police department.

In the last few years as our community and country have had tough conversations about the role and responsibility of police, I've found, and I'm sure you have as well, that 'support' really means 'respect.' Respect is another term that can mean a lot of things. In the case for some, respect for our police officers and police department means never questioning their actions and never asking for better. To me, that's not respect, that's blindly following. History would show us that that never works out well, and in the meantime, innocent people get hurt.


Moreover, not questioning a public figure or figures is, to me, actually a disrespect. It tells them that I don't think they could handle me speaking up and saying they could do better. It tells them I don't think they're tough enough.


I think the MPD is tough enough. I think that when we get uncomfortable about questioning police officers' actions, what we are really scared of is the possibility that the people with whom we entrust are safety are humans too, capable of foibles and mistakes. I think it's easier to unquestioningly follow, but we don't do things the easy way. I would be shirking my duty to you, my oath of office, and my own conscience if I were to not ask questions. I would be disrespecting our own police department if I were to assume they couldn't handle those questions. You all have known me for over two years and you know that avoiding the uncomfortable is just not me, it's not how I lead. I ask tough questions, of myself, of all of you, and of city leaders. It's not easy, but it's how we move forward. And I know we can all handle it.

I'm currently co-sponsoring a resolution to appropriate funds for a 'Bearcat' armored vehicle for MPD for dangerous warrant scenarios. I've drafted a substitute resolution to reimburse Chief Koval for a majority of his legal fees from his recent professional misconduct case, because I think the city should stand in solidarity with its staff and that nobody should have to take out a second mortgage to defend themselves for what they do while serving the city-even if it was wrong. To me, support means solidarity and putting real skin (and in this case, funding) in the game. Of those to whom much is given, however, much is expected. I will continue to support MPD's ability to keep its officers safe in high risk situations, and to know that the city will at least help with legal fees should issues arise in the course of duty. I will not stop asking questions of MPD, or pushing for better when I know better can be achieved. That is support and respect.


Stay Tough, East Side

Amanda Hall

Alder, District 3

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