Last week Madison Police Officers did a phenomenal job responding to a stolen auto and locating three teenage suspects. A news release was issued illustrating the incident, which can be found on our website. In diving into this call for service further with community members and police officers, there is a sense of frustration and hopelessness about these incidents repeating themselves. If you saw the story, you read that three teenagers were arrested after stealing a car and are possibly linked to other stolen autos. We also know that a gun was in the car that we found and is likely associated with these teens. One of the suspects in this crime spree has 20 different court cases in which 18 appear open.
Our discussions lead further into talking about how many teens are out there with so many open court cases, many of which are felonies. MADISON: this youth is in crisis, as are others, and will be lost in the "the system" if we as a community fail him. At age 16 there is still a life ahead; but not if non-stop arrests are in your past and part of your future. We live in a community rich in resources, education, generosity, opportunity and creativity. The criminal justice system does not have ideal solutions for our youth. I suggest community groups, churches, mentorship programs, schools and more investment in the environment from which these arrested youth hail from strive to begin the process to make the following equitable across Madison and part of the home life nomenclature: school, reading, math, sports, arts, college prep, trades skill, employment and building a future based on education and opportunity. It is always amazing to see our Neighborhood Police Officers engaged with some of our toughest youth in positive events such as a sports or music. The youth are dazzled by the sincere play, interaction and attention they receive from an adult.
When youth tangle themselves in the criminal justice system, no one wins. The police are always asked to do a lot in society; but this task is much larger than the police and will take you and various organizations. We need to be better in 2022 and keep hope alive for our youth.
Captain Mike Hanson - South Police District, MPD