Posted on Sunday, Jun. 7, 2020 at 1:21 pm
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 common sense 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:
- Review police use of force policies.
- Engage communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review.
- Report the findings of the review to the community and seek feedback.
- 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.