Skip to main content

Police Blotter

A Tale of Two Spokesmen

January 2, 2021 3:22 PM

A Leap of Faith: DeSpain reflects on career, MPD family

"You know, they are going to civilianize that PIO job, you should think about." As soon as the veteran MPD detective had uttered the words, he walked away, leaving me to think about life and where I was headed.

It was early 2007, and the conversation had taken place outside of the City County Building coffee shop, where I encountered many news sources while working the beat for WISC-TV.

Journalism had been my first professional love, having watched with great interest, the Watergate hearings back in middle school, and thinking what an important and honorable way that must be to make a living.

So it had been for 25 years at Channel 3. Never thought I would leave it, but this was a moment where a leap of faith might be in order. I had two young children and there was noise in the newsroom system about moving me to the night side, meaning not much dad time.

Having marched around the Randall Elementary School playground, mimicking college students who were up the street protesting the Viet Nam War, my mindset on policing began evolving a few years prior when I first interviewed MPD Chief David Couper. He might have been wearing clogs, and I remember photos of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi hanging above his desk. I was learning about the difference between guardians and warriors, about how trust-based and community-based policing can really work.

I took that leap of faith, becoming the first civilian MPD PIO. I was now living life on the other side of the camera. There was a learning curve, no doubt, but my instincts regarding the men and women of the MPD had been correct, and in time I was accepted as a member of a tremendous family.

Now that I prepare to turn the page, check out life's next chapter, it will be work relationships with a diverse and eclectic group of caring professionals that I will be truly miss.


Joel Despain

Getting Social with Tyler Grigg

Tyler Grigg has one of the longest titles at MPD (Crime Prevention, Crime Stoppers, and Social Media Coordinator), and that speaks to the volume of roles he has undertaken. He is responsible for MPD's social media content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Working hand-in-hand with PIO Joel Despain, Tyler disseminates media releases, information about MPD's outreach initiatives, provides safety tips, and publishes crime trends and data gleaned from detectives and crime analysts. Tyler provides training to the public that focuses on methods for preventing crime and encouraging community engagement, including coordinating the Good Neighbor Project, MPD's community safety program.

Tyler is the voice you may hear on the radio, announcing when local law enforcement is looking to identify individuals associated with some type of crime. He records and produces Crime Stopper radio ads and sifts through anonymous tips, liaising with not only MPD investigators but also various other Dane County law enforcement officials to solve active investigations.

You may also see Tyler at the Training Center, as he is an adjunct instructor for both the pre-service academy and the Department's annual in-service trainings, as a Master Instructor Trainer for Firearms, and a state certified instructor for DAAT, Tactical Response, and Scenarios. He has been with MPD since 2009.

On January 4th, 2021, Officer Grigg will hand in his badge and will step into a new, yet somewhat familiar role, joining the civilian ranks and taking the reins as Public Information Officer.


Tyler Grigg

Listen to Joel and Tyler on the latest MPD Podcasts:


Time to say goodbye/MPD's Public Information Officer readies for retirement

After more than 13 years, and four police chiefs, MPD PIO Joel DeSpain has decided to call it a career at the end of the year. In the podcast, Chief Victor Wahl turns the tables, asking DeSpain about the trials and tribulations of dispensing information. DeSpain, a former journalist, talks about the transition from reporter to news source, and how both of his chosen professions have drastically changed.


MPD names new PIO As Chief Wahl reflects on an unparalleled year

Following a nationwide search, the Madison Police Department found the best candidate to take over the public information office close to home. Really close to home. Tyler Grigg is currently a police officer with the MPD, and in a sense, has been a PIO in training for many years. On the podcast, current PIO Joel DeSpain and Acting Chief Vic Wahl introduce us to Grigg, as Grigg prepares to turn in his badge, and DeSpain readies for retirement. Chief Wahl is also gearing up to step aside as the Department's chief. He initially thought he'd hold the title only a few months. Now 16 months later, he reflects on what it has been like leading the MPD through an unprecedented year.

 Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the Police Blotter email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.

Posts By Month

Posts By Category


#Back2SchoolSAFETYTIPS  #BattleOfTheBadges  #beneighborly  #Captain Brian Austin  #ClickItOrTicket  #CoffeeWithACop  #CommunitySurvey  #ConeWithACop  #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver  #DrugTakeBack  #FindYOURBlueCalling  #GoodNeighborProject  #HelicopterParent  #lovemadison  #MPDMotorUnit  #NightlyLockup  #PrideMonth  #SafetyTips  #ScamAlert  #seesomethingsaysomething  #SouthSideSoccerSeries  #VisionZeroMadison  #WeAreThe28  #westdistrictstrategicplan  #YouCanBeYOU  Amigos en Azul  Bigs In Blue  Bike Rides  Black Youth Academy  Budget Process  Capt. Cory Nelson  Captain Ackeret  Captain Beckett  Captain Freedman  Captain Patton  Central District  Ceremonies  Chief Barnes  Citizen Recognition  Coffee with a Cop  Community Academy  Community Awards  Community Events  Community Forums  Community Gang Outreach  Community Outreach  Community Partnership  Community Policing  Community Survey  CORE  CRASE  Crime Prevention  Crime Stoppers  Crossing Guards  Cyber Detective Camp  Cyber Safety  Damaged Property  Downtown Safety  Driving Safely  East District  East High School  Edgewood College  Education Resource Officer  Emily Samson  Events  Explorers Post  Facebook  Fireside Five-Oh  Fireside Five-Oh  Good Neighbor Project  Guerrilla Grillers  Guerrilla Grillers  homeless  Investigations  Join the Team  K9  LaFollette High School  LeadsOnline  Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki  Lieutenant Patterson  Madison Area Addiction Recovery Initiative (MAARI)  Madison Area Recovery Initiative (MARI)  Madison Community Policing Foundation  Madison Parks  Madison Schools  MedDrop Box  Midtown District  Midtown Strategic Plan  MMSD  Mobile Device Safety  Mounted Patrol  MPD Awards Ceremony  National Night Out  Neighborhood Police Officers  Neighborhood Watch  New Recruits  North District  North District  Pawn Shops  Pedestrian Safety  Personal Safety  Phishing Scams  Police Biking  Property Crimes  Red Cross Blood Drive  Registered Sex Offender  Residential Burglaries  Road Home  Road Home  Robberies  Safe Communities  Safety in the Home  Safety Saturday  Secondhand Business  Self Report Unit  Sex Offender Information Bulletin  Shooting  Shout Out  Social Media  Solicitor Permits  South District  Southwest Safety Initiative  Spanish  Special Olympics  State St  Straubel  Straubel  SWAT  Torch Run  Traffic Concerns  Traffic Enforcement Safety Team (TEST)  Twitter  UW-Madison  Weapons Offenses  West Community Academy  West District  Youth Programs  Zero in Wisconsin