July 1st will mark my last day in a Madison Police uniform. I was hired in 1989 by Chief David Cooper, and have had a remarkable and diverse career. So much has changed within the policing profession over the last 30 years. Tactics, law enforcement strategies, equipment, and training have all improved, and that is a good thing. What has remained constant, is the need and ability of our officers and civilian staff to relate with our "customers" and serve this community in the best ways possible.
I cannot speak for all officers, but suffice to say, policing in Madison has become a difficult and almost impossible task. Officers will make split second as well as thorough and thoughtful decisions throughout each and every shift. In some cases officers are exposed to situations or circumstances they could never have been anticipated to deal with or been trained to handle – yet there is often no other entity trained, equipped, and available to respond 24/7.
I sincerely wish our newest officers the best as they embark on a career, but know many will never stay for 30 years as I did. We embrace continuous improvement in this agency, and are constantly striving to be better. However, the negative drumbeat from police critics and reformers in an already toxic atmosphere for police is a challenge these officers must face. I am hopeful the community as well as our elected officials will recognize the blood, sweat, and tears MPD officers shed on a daily basis while attempting to maintain order, protect the citizenry, and serve our residents. This is a great police department.
I will be forever grateful to those internally and externally who supported me in this career endeavor. I am leaving behind qualified and competent people who will continue to build upon the improvements made by their predecessors.
Oh, one more thing – please remember to keep your garage doors closed, valuables out of sight, and car and residence doors looked. Those are the easiest ways to keep thieves away...
Captain Thomas M. Snyder