The Madison Police Department has released the results of a citywide survey designed to improve policing in our community.

Overall, the majority of Madison residents approve of the job police are doing and feel safe in their neighborhoods.

“We want to keep our community safe. We want make sure people aren’t afraid to go for a walk around their block. To know their kids are growing up in a safe place.” Police Chief Shon Barnes said. “To know we are meeting this goal, that’s good, but we recognize more work always needs to be done.”

Most residents also believe police are effective in protecting them from violent crime and are familiar with one or more of the department’s community outreach programs.

While residents feel safe in their own neighborhoods, the survey found many do not feel safe in the city as a whole and want more accountability for officers. Many also want to see the department react quicker once a community concern is raised.

“This research was done to understand what the community wants and needs from us. What they expect from the officers who serve them daily,” Barnes said. “The information we gathered will help us set new long-term goals for our department.”

The views of police varied significantly by race, ethnicity and education and among each of the department’s six patrol districts. Non-white residents and those without a college degree give the department lower ratings for overall job performance.

“We know there are people and communities out there who don’t trust police. This will take time. But we are committed to rebuilding this trust, however long it may take,” said Community Outreach Captain Matt Tye.

The Madison Police Department is working with the Matrix Consultant Group on its long-term strategic plan. Earlier this spring, Matrix contracted with Public Values Research, an independent research group, to conduct the surveys.

The surveys were mailed to 3,000 addresses using an Addressed Based Sample provided by the U.S. Postal Service. Of those, 721 were completed by residents in Madison. Participants were given the option to take the survey electronically or by mail. The surveys were sent between March 4 and April 11, 2022. A total of 253 surveys were conducted online and 468 were returned by mail. All participants were 18 years of age or older.

“This feedback shows us that more work needs to be done. We know it won’t be easy, but we are committed to making Madison a safe community for all,” Barnes said.

The Madison Police Department is sharing the findings from these community surveys online. You can find the results by clicking on this link.