Submitted by Officer Caleb Johnson (Theresa/Hammersley Neighborhood Officer)
As a City of Madison police officer, I am happy to respond to the complaints and concerns of citizens, including those that are minor in nature. In my experience, many problems are underreported, especially quality-of-life related problems. Upon receiving a complaint about ongoing problems at a particular address, one of the first things I do is access the call history for that address to see how many documented complaints there are, and if any enforcement action has been taken. Similarly, when working with landlords of problematic tenants, often they request police case numbers generated by those tenants. Many times, even though I am told there have been multiple disturbances and violations, the call history does not reflect this. The Madison Police Department needs the help of all city residents to help accurately depict the problems they are experiencing so that those problems can be addressed.
Citizens sometimes feel that it is not worth calling the police for certain problems because they are not emergencies or they think the chances of enforcement action being taken is small. Although certain offesnes have a low likelihood of immediate enforcement action being taken, it is still very important that violations are reported. There is a record made of all reported incidents, even if officers are unable to locate a suspect. Data that demonstrates persistent problems helps us appropriately allocate resources and enforcement efforts.
I often advise residents that if they do not feel comfortable calling 911 for these less serious incidents, the non-emergency number (266-4275) is a good alternative. Generally, the non-emergency number is most appropriate for incidents where there is no concern for physical safety and for incidents that do not require an immediate police response to address the complaint.
Please remember that the police department is here to serve the community and we really do want to hear from you. Thank you for your partnership in keeping Madison a great place to live.