City of
Madison

District 13

Alder Tag Evers

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Alder Tag Evers

Contact Information

Home Address:

2329 Keyes Ave
Madison , WI 53711

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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Alder Evers’ Blog

Police Accountability and Independent Community Oversight

August 31, 2020 12:25 PM

Hi Everyone,

(A tip of my hat to Alder Rummel for her post on this subject. Much of what follows I've borrowed from her excellent summary.)

The Final Report of the Alder Work Group to Develop Logistics & Operational Details for Madison Police Department Independent Civilian Oversight, the ordinances establishing the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the Police Civilian Oversight Board, and amendments to the budget to allocate funds for the new monitor position, administrative and investigative support staff and funding for the oversight board will be voted on at Council Tuesday night.

Council members have received well over a hundred emails in the last week, the majority of residents support establishing the Office of the Independent Monitor and the Civilian Oversight Board.  The Alder Work Group final report, ordinances, position description and budget authorizations were approved at Finance, Equal Opportunities Commission and the Public Safety Review Commission. But at last Friday's almost six hour Common Council Executive Committee (CCEC) meeting three of the four items failed on a 3-3 with the Council President choosing not the vote.

I am in support of the Alder Work Group report, the ordinance to create the Office of the Independent Monitor and Civilian Oversight Board, amendments to 2020 budget to move forward and the position description.  If you want to provide comments, please email allalders@cityofmadison.com.

The proposed ordinance to establish an Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the Police Civilian Oversight Board represents a careful review of experiences from other communities in order to improve police accountability, develop a fair and impartial process for all stakeholders, and provide effective community control of the police.  The ordinance proposes a hybrid model of an oversight board and monitor to review complaints and look at policies, procedures and patterns based on the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee. During the drafting of the ordinance, position description and final report, the Alder Work Group relied on the expertise of representatives from the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) at https://www.nacole.org/. Brian Corr, Past President of NACOLE and Liana Perez, another NACOLE Board member attended the CCEC meeting and answered questions. They provided lots of information about how other cities have arranged and organized police oversight systems.

The following includes issues raised during the CCEC meeting:

  1. The monitor and Civilian Oversight Board must be independent of the law enforcement departments they oversee and independent of elected officials. The Monitor would be recruited and appointed by a Board consisting of 11 members and 2 alternates. The Monitor, unlike most City of Madison department heads, will not report to the Mayor. In placing the Monitor under the supervision of the Board, the Alder Workgroup reviewed similar structures used in San Jose, Syracuse, and Eugene and is recommending this approach as the best method to hold the Monitor accountable to the community.
  2. The Monitor and the Oversight Board may conduct independent investigations of all Police Department personnel, including the Police Chief as well as monitor MPD programs, activities, investigations, and use-of-force incidents. The Monitor may, to the extent permitted by law, issue subpoenas for the purpose of compelling testimony or receiving documents necessary to fulfill the duties of the Office of the Independent Monitor. The enabling legislation allows the Monitor to retain investigators to assist the Board. The results of those processes would be recommendations and not final determinations since the Police and Fire Commission has that authority by state statute. The Board is also charged with conducting community outreach and completing an annual public report to the Mayor and Council containing an assessment of the performance of the Monitor, the Board and MPD.
  3. The Monitor shall have never been employed by the MPD, be an immediate family member of current or former MPD employees, or worked as a law enforcement officer within the State of Wisconsin in the ten years prior to appointment as Monitor.
  4. The Ad Hoc Committee recommended, and the proposed ordinance requires, that the Civilian Oversight Board membership include a diversity of membership, including racial and ethnic backgrounds, age, socioeconomic status, gender, geographic residence in the City, work experience, and lived experience with homelessness, mental health, substance abuse and/or arrest or conviction record. The ordinance states that no Member shall have ever been employed by the MPD, be an immediate family member of current or former MPD employees, or worked as a law enforcement officer within the State of Wisconsin in the ten years prior to becoming a Member of the Board. The draft ordinance provides that at least one member be Black, Asian, Latinx, Native American, a member of the LGBTQ community, as well as that at least one member be affiliated with organizations in the field of mental health, youth advocacy, and AODA, and at least one member have an arrest or conviction record. The draft ordinance incorporates those membership requirements but the Alder Workgroup has separately recommended in its Final Report that the Board consist of at least 50% members who are Black.
  5. In order to help foster diversity of the Civilian Oversight Board membership and effective participation in meetings, each board member will receive a $100 per month stipend, members of the board's executive committee shall receive an additional $25 per month in addition to the board member stipend; child care shall be provided during board meetings for board members that require that service; board members shall receive annual training; information technology hardware, software and training shall be provided to board members needing that service; and funding for attendance by elements of the board at national conferences.

Last week Mayor Rhodes-Conway issued a statement with a summary of changes underway Update on City Work Related to Criminal Justice Reform, Crime Prevention, and Racial Disparities

The police shooting of Kenosha resident Jacob Blake in front of his children is unacceptable. Council leadership issued a statement on shooting of Jacob Blake. The disparate treatment by police and right wing media of Jacob Blake who may have carried a knife and was shot in the back seven times by police and the 17 year old vigilante from Illinois who carried a weapon without a permit, crossed state lines twice, brandished his AR-15 like weapon in a crowd, violated curfew and allegedly shot at three and killed two people because he was supposedly defending property with a group of vigilantes is dizzying.

Police accountability is significantly enhanced by independent community oversight. We have a historic opportunity for systemic change. The time is now. 

Take care and stay safe.

Tag




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