In 2004 several Madison Police officers working in the South District started a program now known as Amigos en Azul. The goal of this program was to dissolve cultural barriers, build relationships and to develop positive communication lines with the Latino Community in Dane County.
Nearly a decade later this program is still in place and I am proud to report that in October of 2013 the Amigos en Azul program was selected for the Community Institution of the Year Award as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month!
WLMV – La Movida radio and Mid-West Family Broadcasting, in collaboration with the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County and Centro Hispano of Dane County, honored Amigos en Azul at a ceremony held at the Fitchburg Community Center on October 10, 2013. I would like to commend all of the Madison Police Department personnel for their hard-work, involvement and commitment to this program.
The Madison Police Department is committed to building long-lasting trustworthy relationships with all members of our community. We strive to build positive relationships within our community as we believe this leads to a safer and healthier place to live, work and play.
Part of the Amigos en Azul program involves officers attending regular community events and providing information to the Latino Community regarding police resources. The officers also provide safety education resources through a variety of different Spanish media components. In addition to these resources, the Amigos en Azul program coordinates and runs the "Latino Youth Academy" which gives Latino students an interesting and unique look into the world of police officers. The academy was developed with the hopes of building trust between the Latino community and the police department. The academy includes students participating in everything from staged traffic stops to mock tactical situations.
I would also like to bring attention to a new organization in the community called Latino Professionals Association (LPA). This organization is a branch of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County and it started this fall. LPA's goal is to "empower Latino leaders through professional development, career management, community service and networking." The Madison Police Department supports this new organization and looks forward to developing a positive long-lasting relationship with them.
One of the seven core values of the Madison Police Department is Community Partnership. We believe that the police can only be successful in improving safety and the quality of life the community enjoys when police and members of the public work together to address issues directly. Myself, members of our department and our Department as a whole will continue to reach out to the community in a variety of ways to ensure that we are meeting one of our core values of what makes our Department and community successful, safe and healthy.