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District 1

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Image of Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Contact Information

Home Address:

1209 Dayflower Dr

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

Common Council Agenda Items of Interest to District 1.

June 7, 2016 3:43 PM

District 1 Constituents: 

Business of interest at the Common Council meeting tonight. Public comments on the resolution will be heard before the Council vote. You are encouraged to attend tonight's Council meeting.

As Alder of District 1, I thought that I would share some of the responses we as Alders have received over the Resolution before the Common Council tonite from the ad hoc committee on police policy and procedures requesting $350,000 to fund a study on the policy and procedures of the Madison Police Department. 

I will be co-sponsoring a resolution introduced from the floor supporting an operational budget supporting  collaboration with the County and other non profit organizations to support a Day Resource Center.


Approval of Urban League as Operator for the Park Edge Park Ridge Emplpument Center to be located at the site of the closes Griff's Resturant.


Selecton of the architect for the employment center project.

From Chief Koval:
To the Common Council: You are being watched. And be on notice: this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you.' 

RESPONSES SENT TO ALL ALDERS. Two responses were sent directly to me as the  District 1 Alder. 

It is unfortunate that so many of you have no ability to stand up to the bullies who are driving this type of expenditure and this type of attack. But no it's business as usual Political Correctness run amok, with no support for those who are doing a great job for the City of Madison. The Chief and his officers are doing a phenomenal job maybe you should research that by doing a few ride-alongs! And not just for an hour or so, and not just in a nice neighborhood. You need to understand that you DON'T understand the job of a police officer! I'm tired of you putting my safety at risk because of that ignorance! Not funding the department in a way that takes the safety of your constituents and the officers who protect them into account. But you know all of this you just choose to ignore the facts. It's a sad commentary that just doesn't change. I'd encourage you to all grow a pair, but that wouldn't be politically correct, so it would be pointless. Stop attacking, and start supporting the Chief and his department! 

I have lived in Madison for over 15 years.  During the time that I have lived here I have been increasingly concerned regarding the action of Madison and Capitol Police.  While the Police have always been extremely courteous and respectful to me, and always willing to help, others have not been so lucky.  Nearly all of my black male colleagues (professors) have left Madison, in part due to unpleasant interactions with police.  One of my black male colleagues was stopped repeatedly by police while driving.  This professor ended up moving to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL out of frustration.  In addition, my male graduate students have been treated roughly and sometimes unfairly on various occasions.

An independent review of the Madison Police Department is needed. The review needs to be a legitimate, thorough review, performed by qualified experts. 

 I don't understand what purpose city council review would serve. The taxpayer dollars should be used to strengthen the PD - not make their jobs harder to do. I say bravo to chief Koval for speaking out. 'Atta boy.

the proposal to spend an additional 350,000.00 for a study in an attempt to appease a few outspoken agitators seems foolish. With all of the other programs that need funding a deficit is already built in

it is an embarrassment that any of you would even consider spending the city does not have.

Instead of supporting the chief and his department you are pandering to a vocal, extremely small number of people who do NOT represent the community.

Yes, many of you support the Midtown Station, but your absence at the many police community events basketball with youth, awards ceremonies, and many others is very visible. I agree with Chief Koval that yet another survey is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and that the overwhelming majority of Madisonians are very supportive of MPD. 

We can do 2 things at one time: work on disparities AND support our police. Not all people of color mistrust the MPD. I've attended community meetings where the Chief is met with lots of hugs and receives praise.

My fear is that we will start to lose good officers and good police administrators.

I'm writing in support of the resolution to properly fund a comprehensive expert review of the Madison Police Department. Until our police department is reviewed comprehensively through an objective lens that cannot be controlled, manipulated or the subject of retaliation, we will not truly know where change is or isn't needed.  

Moreover, the cost of a comprehensive review should be compared to the magnitude of ongoing costs associated with complaints against officers, settlements (such as the $2.3 million settlement in the Paul Heenan shooting), and associated financial expenditures/risks. Comprehensive external reviews of police departments, and resulting reforms, have consistently been found to reduce financial risk and cost. All policing experts who have been consulted concur on this point. Madison would be far better off if the money currently being spent on lawsuit settlements and complaints could be saved and available for other community needs.

A review conducted by a non-expert for little money will just be a waste of time and money.  Our city can't afford to waste our time and our money.   Too many are in need.  I am writing to ask that you do everything you can to ensure at least $400,000 be set aside for an objective and comprehensive review to be carried out by an expert and team that is qualified to take on a task of such nature, in whatever time is necessary.   This is a tiny fraction compared to what we invest in police infrastructure and weaponry and while the funding comes from different sources, we all know there are sufficient funds in the contingent reserves, saved for unanticipated things throughout the year, usually used for police overtime and snow plowing and other odd things.  Let's use some of that to invest in the safest police/civilian relationship possible in the country by first having someone, with no stake in the outcome, examine the culture, policies and practices of our police department and help our community choose a path that is right for us.  

As a racial-minority member of our community, I am well-aware of the subtleties of race-profiling (having experienced being such a victim in the City of Monona) and pseudo-acceptance (or tolerance) by main-stream residents.  I am aware of deep-felt resentment and recognition of non-overt feelings and expressions of racism.  I am also cognizant of the desire of main-stream people to appear to be politically correct. That facade fades when viewed by many racial-minority residents; however, it's a facade that many in public life develop as a self-protective and self-satisfying demeanor. 

Madison should be proud of its Police Department and how it continues to move in the direction of being guardians, protectors, and problem preventers.  A small number of vociferous, mob-inciting, incidents do not warrent the indignity of subjecting the MPD to unnecessary, unjustified investigation. 

Nationwide, our citizenry is falling prey to a negative but compelling force that is antithetical to what main-stream America used to be--understanding, accepting, and open to relatively-critical thinking.  My question is:  What is "Politically Correct?" Should we each stand by what we truly believe, or should we pretend that an apparent-groundswell of public expression guides our thinking and action?. I, for one, decline to engage in any group activity that may devolve into mob action so-often based on inadequate or false data,.

Please do not authorize additional funding for a study of the Madison Police Department.

I would like to ask you to support the budget amendment on tonight's council agenda to increase funding for a Police Policy Review from $50,000 to $400,000. Policing takes up an immense amount of our city's resources, and it is important that know that our police force is operating efficiently and in a manner that best serves the community. Please support this amendment.

Is that the best use? Instead of studying the MPD I think a better use would be to act, to supporting the Chief with more help, with body cameras, with funds for overtime, more neighborhood officers, more school officers. Chief Koval can't continue to support our growing city if he doesn't get support from the Common Council. Which one of you will introduce a new resolution to do this?  Or will you continue with business as usual? City of Madison residents are watching what you do. We care how our tax dollars are should care too.

As a private citizen in district 1, I am getting a little concerned about the money being asked to be spent on things we should be doing with city resources already funded, specifically about the two cases mentioned below. These cases are asking for a consultant to review either the local government as a whole or the MPD. I for one do not support this funding. Yes we have problems and we know about them. I for one am for police cameras, I am for the mayor keeping the powers given to him to appoint board members (against the Government Reform Initiative brought by Alds. Ahrens & Clear) (My stance is that we voted the mayor as a whole not the Council President), I am not for giving money away to reconfirm things we already know.

Give the police $400,00 to use where it will do the most good.  Body cameras, overtime more officers. Safe neighborhoods should be one of your top priorities and the Chief knows how the resources should be spent better then any elected official.
We are sick of your lack of support for one of the fiest Police Departments in the country.
And we are watching!

I encourage you to vote against this. Our police department has great leadership under Chief Koval. Let's support him in his community policing initiatives. This is a misuse of taxpayer money. I would encourage you to spend this money in more productive ways.. ie summer jobs for young people, funding low income children to attend summer camp, etc. That 400,000 could do so much for the children in at Lussier Community Center or Kennedy Heights to name a few When we as a society do not appropriately respond to poverty, drug addiction, etc., the problems trickle down to the police dept. We cannot continue to blame them for what we as a society fail to act on. Let's invest our money in real prevention. 

Months ago I stood in front of you representing constituents in the Madison West District who were overwhelmingly in support of Midtown Police Station.  Prior to me speaking, I was encouraged by the honest debate among alders regarding many of the budget items being presented for approval, their value to the public, and the frank and honest discussion of the "two Madison's".  I found the dialogue on point and thorough, particularly given the concern over the racial divide and the scrutiny of budget line items.

I am now concerned at the quick appearance and serious consideration of the funding request of an additional $350,000 for the evaluation of police policy and procedures motivated by officer-involved shootings.  

More disconcerting is that in the May 23 Board of Estimates session many of you felt this was an initiative you just could not vote against given the vocalization of a few members of the public.  While many of you express your appreciation and belief that we have great police department, your support of this initiative conveys a clear vote of 'no confidence' in this dedicated organization.  

I ask you to consider the anticipated results of this study and the cost over the long term.  The results could present a stellar review of the department, or the results could show improvements are needed and additional monies are now required to move towards compliance.  

After any changes and training have occurred, let us imagine we have an officer-involved shooting or an incident that someone in the public protests.  I firmly believe that the public will not accept the situation just because a consultant study has been completed.  Your return on investment is negative and the root causes remain untreated.

This $350,000 will not:

-  provide for any job training or education 
-  help any individual who is mentally unstable or has any type of psychological issue
-  help anyone suffering from alcohol or drug addiction
-  eliminate or reduce the purchase or distribution of illegal drugs
-  eliminate or reduce the number of illegal guns on our streets
-  eliminate or reduce the number of gangs or their membership
-  offer aid or counseling to any individual suffering from the abuse of another
-  offer aid or counseling to first time criminals or repeat offenders to deter them from future crimes
-  open any day resource centers
-  fund any Mental Health, Gang, Educational or Community Resource Officers

These are but a few examples of the potential positive investments that could be made rather than simply addressing police procedures.  If you feel compelled to act, I urge you to evaluate what will provide the most positive return for the community.  Spending an additional $350K to improve the root cause of our community issues will yield more impactful results than a study that will be ignored longer term. 

I sincerely hope you weigh the opportunity cost and impact of your decision for ALL your constituents and our phenomenal Madison Police Department.  

We are writing in support of the resolution to properly fund a comprehensive expert review of the Madison Police Department. We need our police department to be reviewed comprehensively through an objective lens that cannot be controlled or manipulated. A rigorous outside lens is a MUST to truly change and impact our Police Department regarding safety infrastructure, policing policies, procedures, and systems, and most importantly education and training around racial, ethnic, gender, identity, family culture, mental health, and the list could go on. We are concerned as Black mothers because our Black men, women, boys and girls are SIGNIFICANTLY impacted by the practices and policies of our police community. We want change and we need it now. 

Moreover, the cost of a comprehensive review should be compared to the magnitude of ongoing costs associated with complaints against officers, settlements (such as the $2.3 million settlement in the Paul Heenan shooting, and others), and associated financial expenditures/risks. Comprehensive external reviews of police departments, and resulting reforms, have consistently been found to reduce financial risk and cost. All policing experts who have been consulted concur on this point. Madison would be far better off if the money currently being spent on lawsuit settlements and complaints could be saved and available for other community needs.

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