Skip to main content

District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Contact Information

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

District 19 Blog

Supporting President Obama's Call to Action on Police Reform

June 7, 2020 2:05 PM

I'm pledging my support for President Obama's Call to Action which includes reviewing Madison Police Department's (MPD) use-of-force policy and pursuing commonsense policy reforms. I've heard from many residents, listened to the voices of the protesters and recognize our system still has a long way to go. This pledge is just the first step and I strongly support long-term restructuring of our public safety entities, including an independent oversight board and increased investments in alternative services like mental health professionals. Madison has already begun this journey of reform and I'm supportive of the implementation of the recommendations from the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee that spent four years studying, evaluating, and deliberating on recommendations to improve the MPD. I will continue to listen. Please continue to send me your thoughts.

message from Mayor Rhodes-Conway:

This week, former President Barack Obama called on every mayor in the United States to review their police department's use-of-force policy and to pursue commonsense policy reforms.

I am happy to answer this call and take the pledge. I thank the Madison Alders who also pledged to take action, including Council President Sheri Carter and Alders Keith Furman, Marsha Rummel, Shiva Bidar, Patrick Heck, Donna Moreland, Mike Verveer and Grant Foster.

Obama is asking cities to commit to limits on police use of force and address problems in policing nationwide. He wants cities to:

  1. Review police use of force policies.
  2. Engage communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review.
  3. Report the findings of the review to the community and seek feedback.
  4. Reform the community's police use of force policies.

After an historic week of protest and unrest, Obama had some words of encouragement for activists. "I've been hearing a little bit of chatter ... voting vs. protest. Politics and participation versus civil disobedience and direct action," he said. "This is not an either or. This is a both and. To bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable, but we also have to translate that into practical solutions and laws that can be implemented."

The City of Madison is working on the "practical solutions and laws to be implemented" - starting with hiring the City's first ever Independent Police Auditor. A bill to advance this position, which was the top recommendation of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Police Policy and Procedure, will be voted on by the Common Council this Tuesday. In addition, the Police and Fire Commission this week will be taking steps to advance the search for a new police chief for our great city.

I invite the rest of the Common Council, the members of the Police and Fire Commission, and the members of the Public Safety Review Committee to join me in taking this pledge.

I also call on all Mayors across the country to join me in answering President Obama's call to action.


MPD Acting Chief Wahl has shared the following message on his blog

"Eight can't wait"

Over the last week, I've received hundreds of emails from community members on a number of topics.  There were a number of common themes and questions, and I will try to address some of those through my blog so all can share the response.

One common theme in many emails is about the "8 can't wait" campaign, which is a series of use-of-force policies/principles recommended to improve outcomes and community safety.  Many have asked how MPD views these eight principles.  Our policy, training and philosophy are in alignment with these recommendations.   They are described below:

Eight Can't Wait

Ban Chokeholds & Strangleholds – MPD does not, nor has it ever, trained officers in chokeholds, strangleholds or any other similar techniques.  MPD policy specifically prohibits use of these techniques unless deadly force is justified.

Require De-Escalation – MPD has implemented a policy on de-escalation that requires the use of de-escalation techniques (such as time, distance, communication, etc.) when feasible.  All officers were trained in de-escalation when the policy was implemented.  New officers are trained in de-escalation and the principle is incorporated into many aspects of officer training (professional communication, tactical response, etc.).

Require Warning Before Shooting – MPD policy requires that "Before using deadly force, officers shall, if reasonably possible, identify themselves and order the subject to desist from unlawful activity."  This requirement is reinforced in officer training.

Require Exhausting all Alternatives Before Shooting – MPD policy clearly states that deadly force is "a measure of last resort, only to be employed when an officer reasonably believes all other options have been exhausted or would be ineffective."  This principle is emphasized in officer training.

Duty to Intervene – MPD policy and Code of Conduct states, "Any officer present and observing another officer using excessive force, or engaged in unlawful conduct, or in violation of the Madison Police Department's Code of Conduct has an affirmative obligation to intercede and report."

Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles – MPD policy states that shooting at a moving vehicles is never authorized unless: a person in the vehicle is threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle; or the vehicle is being operated in a manner that reasonably appears deliberately intended to strike an officer or other person, and all other reasonable means of defense have been exhausted (or are not present or practical).

Require Comprehensive Reporting – MPD policy requires that any officer who uses physical force, weapons, items, or devices against a person shall complete an original or supplemental report on the incident. This includes pointing a firearm at an individual. Additionally, officers who use "recordable" force must contact a supervisor to review the use of force and enter information about the incident into an internal database.  Each use of recordable force is reviewed by the MPD Use of Force Coordinator, and certain levels of force require an initial on-scene supervisory response/review.

Require Use of Force Continuum – The "8cantwait" initiative defines this as restricting "the most severe types of force to the most extreme situations" and "creating clear policy restrictions on the use of each police weapon and tactic."  MPD policy and training are consistent with this.  Deadly force is clearly restricted to extreme situations, and the use of specific tools/techniques is specifically restricted in policy.  MPD officers are trained in a manner consistent with the State of Wisconsin's Defensive and Arrest Tactics (DAAT) curriculum (as required by the State).  The DAAT system incorporates an intervention options matrix, with restrictions on specific techniques.

The full standard operating procedures addressing these subjects are available on the MPD website:

MPD is committed to continuous improvement, and to ensuring that our use of force policies and training reflect national best practices.  We will continue to review recommendations and principles expressed nationally (by the Police Executive Research Foundation, for example) and locally (by the Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee), and identify areas for enhancing MPD policy and training.


As always, if there is anything I can do to help, feel free to reach out:

-Keith F

Tags: police

Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the District 19 – Alder Furman email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.




Basic Services
Road Construction