Police Officers in Madison Schools
Chief Koval provides insights as ad hoc committee debates
The following statement was released by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval:
While the ad hoc committee evaluating systems improvements relative to the use of MPD Educational Resource Officers (ERO’s) has yet to file a formal final written report of findings, one of the items that has been the subject of discussion recently is a proposal to remove ERO’s from Madison-area high schools and utilize a pool of 20 specially-trained officers who would act as liaisons and respond from patrol services. This particular suggestion is not feasible. MPD does not have the infrastructure or the capacity to be able to even discuss this as a deliverable. Additionally, response time(s) to events occurring while on school grounds would be significantly diminished, compromising our desire to be more accessible.
I have discussed this point of the ad hoc’s committee’s field of options with Mayor Soglin. The Mayor is in support of my decision that this finding cannot be supported by him as well, knowing what this could arguably mean for public safety concerns, both in the schools and in our City.
At the end of the day, ERO’s are a contract matter for the School Board to consider. While MPD would like to continue to be a complementary piece of an enhanced learning environment at MMSD and are open to systems improvements in that regard, the potential recommendation to go with a 20-Officer liaison program instead of an embedded officer is not a workable term. While I remain receptive to discussions that are a part of contract negotiations, I felt it would be in the best interests of those who are making decisions on the future of ERO’s in our schools be placed on notice that the policing-by-committee notion is not an option that would be considered by MPD.
- Joel DeSpain, (608)266-4897, firstname.lastname@example.org