City of
Madison

District 1

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney,
Council Vice President

Contact Information

Home Address:

1209 Dayflower Drive
Madison , WI 53719

Council Office

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

Alder Harrington-McKinney’s Updates

The Appointment of Dr. Greg Gelembiuk to the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee

May 15, 2019 11:13 AM

To: Members of the Madison Common Council
From: David C. Couper, Chief of Police (Ret.)
Date: May 15, 2019

Subj: The Appointment of Dr. Greg Gelembiuk to the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee.

As public officials, we often desire to appoint citizens to our advisory committees who agree with us. It's human nature. But if we desire good public policy and good government, it is a nature with which we must resist.

Decades ago, when I first came to Madison as the new chief of police, the city was struggling with an unpopular war in Vietnam and those who wished to end that war. This resulted in many students at the University of Wisconsin and others in conflict with their police.

Protests were rampant and often violent on the campus and in the city. I clearly saw that my job was to bring peace to the city and repair the damage between police and protesters. One of the ways I did this was to appoint to my advisory committees those who were often our greatest critics.

As now, that is not always easy. Many of my officers and some alders strongly protested their inclusion into police business. They charged me with catering to "rock throwers." Through this we all, however, were able to hear voices that had been dismissed over years of conflict. Looking back, it was one of the most valuable things I did to improve trust in the police department.

I have known Dr. Gelembiuk since the community started to review the police use of force in the deaths of Paul Heenan (2012) and Tony Robinson (2015) and look for ways to heal the impact to the community of these events and preventing them from happening again. I have found him to be a caring, educated and thoughtful member of the Madison community who offered his time and expertise in pursuit of those goals. Additionally, he has had intimate contact with Madison police and has a voice that this community needs to hear. Not seating him on this committee would be a step backward and inconsistent with the mission of the police department which is "continuous improvement" and working close with those they serve.

In a free society such as ours it is vitally important to hear from those who might not necessarily agree with those who hold the power. It's called democracy and has been the tradition of this great city.

I urge you to confirm his appointment. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish further discussion of this matter.

Sincerely,

David C. Couper (the Rev.)
Chief of Police (1972-1993)




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