From runner to patrol officer, Micaela Magsamen at full speed:
It's 4:00pm and night shift officer Micaela Magsamen's day is well underway. She has a workout in and her baby picked up from day care; the baby coos happily in the background. I ask Officer Magsamen how it is, being on patrol in a city shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic. "We just need to take our time, and evaluate each situation" she replies calmly. Micaela is in her 7th year of patrol with MPD, and that veteran status lends gravitas beyond her age. But Micaela has always had a plan of action, and times of crisis do not throw her.
Micaela grew up watching true crime shows. "I was fascinated" she says, and always knew that her career would be law related. Micaela was a high achiever in academics and athletics, running cross-county and track in high school and setting a school record that stood for many years. She took that tenacity to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where Micaela majored in Spanish, Psychology, and Sociology of Law, Crime and Deviance. She worked as a paralegal for a family law office and as a lifeguard and still graduated college in 3 years. When graduation rolled around, Micaela pursued two career paths: law school or acceptance into the Madison Police Department. She was hired for the 2013 Academy.
Officer Magsamen's sprint continues, as she takes on ever more roles: crisis negotiator, Firearms and Emergency Vehicle Operations instructor, Amigos en Azul member, investigative support officer, mentor, wife, and mom. Reflecting on her career, Micaela says "I feel really lucky to work for Madison...what they value in their officers. Other departments at the time I was hired? They weren't quite there yet." She'll go to work again tonight, and her race carries on.
The Madison Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) is comprised of three elements, or platoons: Tactical, Sniper, and the Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT). While each component is critical in fulfilling the SWAT Mission ("to safely resolve high-risk situations through the professional utilization of specialized equipment, negotiation and tactics"), CNT is especially important, as a subset of that mission is that "SWAT will seek to resolve incidents through negotiation whenever possible".
Members of CNT therefore respond to the same calls that the SWAT Tactical and Sniper elements respond to – hostage situations, barricaded persons, weapon offenses, etc. CNT also staffs Command Posts on all high-risk warrant services done by SWAT. Currently, the CNT group is comprised of one Lieutenant, one Sergeant, and ten Crisis Negotiators. The Negotiators are comprised of Officers and Detectives, and they have a myriad of backgrounds.
The baseline training all MPD Crisis Negotiators attend is the FBI Basic Crisis Negotiation Course, which is a weeklong training. Many of our Negotiators though attend additional outside training, and the entire cadre meets as a team to train together four times a year. The entire SWAT group has "full team" trainings approximately four days a year as well. CNT (as is all of SWAT) is always "on-call", and their level of dedication to the citizens of Madison is commendable.