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MPD joins forces with East Washington Ave. businesses

The MPD’s North District Community Police Team is joining forces with merchants to formulate a Collective Community Ban list. It is designed to keep notified repeat offenders from entering participating businesses for one year. The program is modeled after one currently in place on State Street.
Businesses located along East Washington Ave. - from Milwaukee St.  to Marquette St. - are being invited to participate in the initiative.
 “This is a community effort to help curb some of the chronic disorder which has been prevalent on the Avenue for the last several years,” said Officer Dave Dexheimer, who is helping organize the ban. He provided the following program description:
What is it?
A new safety program to help police and business owners work together to deal with repeat offenders. The program depends on voluntary business and citizen participation and is coordinated through the Madison Police Department. The program has been reviewed by the Madison City Attorney’s Office, and is endorsed by Mayor Soglin and Alderpersons Marsha Rummel and Larry Palm.
 From retail theft to disturbance or trespassing, repeat offenders are an increasing problem for merchants, property owners, and police. Currently, many businesses that have an encounter with a repeat offender will ban that person from their property. But offenders typically do not limit their behavior to one location or incident. This program is a tool to deter repeat offenders from area businesses and properties, decrease offenses and increase safety.
Business and property owners who choose to participate in this program agree that an issue for one is an issue for all. A person banned from one of the participating businesses or properties is banned from all other participating businesses and properties as well. The concept is similar to many shopping mall policies: a person banned from any one store (e.g., because of retail theft) is banned from the entire mall.
Police already keep track of repeat offenders and people who are banned from specific businesses and properties. This program additionally empowers police to remove repeat offenders from a collective group of business and properties. Repeat offenders who violate the ban also can be additionally penalized for trespassing.
Who is subject to this ban? This ban is based only on the behavior of the subject and is triggered by arrest. Anyone who is arrested for an offense that occurs on private property can be subject to this ban. Offenses can include, but are not limited to, retail theft, liquor law violations, disorderly conduct, battery, depositing human waste, trespassing, theft, burglary and weapons violations. Any criminal charge and violation of most city ordinances can result in application of this ban.
How long is the ban? One year. If a banned person violates the conditions by trespass or committing another offense, the one year “clock” starts again from the time of their most recent offense. Thus, repeat offenders will create an ongoing ban for themselves.
How does it work? Each participating property and business will have a letter on file with MPD stating that they choose to participate in the program, and authorizing MPD officers to arrest based on the ban and prior notification to the offender. Officers can act upon their own observation of the banned person, or upon request by the business or property owner.
At the time of arrest, the subject is provided with notification of the businesses and properties that participate (and from which they are banned), the length of the ban, and the consequences for violation of the ban. Violation will result in arrest for Unlawful Trespass after Notification, with the disposition at arrest in accordance with normal processing.
Businesses and properties that participate do so voluntarily, and can stop participation at any time. They can also choose to allow a banned person into their property on an individual basis. The originating business can rescind the ban, which will remove the banned person from the entire ban (but that person could potentially be banned again by another participating property or business with another arrest).
The North District Community Policing Team will coordinate this program, and will make the ban list, notification forms, and other resources available to participating businesses and properties. The ban list will include the specifics about the ban including location originating the ban, the end date of the ban, and a photograph of the banned person, when available. The Collective Community Ban List is in addition to the ban list for conditions of bail and probation and parole conditions.