Over the past several months, this daily blog has increasingly chronicled juveniles engaged in serious, illegal behavior(s). Weapons offenses, stealing cars and operating them recklessly, brazen burglaries, robberies, and sexual assaults are among the litany of crimes that have generated fear and apprehension in our community.
MPD has certainly heard from constituents about their collective angst and I can assure you that our cops share in those sentiments. As I have noted before, MPD has spent considerable time and resources in our attempts to prevent, investigate, and arrest juveniles engaged in criminal behavior. Regrettably, the juvenile "justice" system is not responding to the issues at hand and we see a plethora of reasons why it is failing. The judges will tell you that they do not have enough dispositional options available for consideration; there is a paucity of programs, mental health resources cannot keep up to the demands, and there is a lack of suitable placement alternatives (i.e., State-operated Lincoln Hills has been shut down). The Juvenile Reception Center (JRC) and the Dane County Shelter are at capacity. "Home detention" and GPS monitoring have not met standards of reliability in the eyes of our front line guardians. School-related disturbances and inappropriate behaviors have become all too commonplace. Gang membership is on a trajectory climb as well. Is it any wonder that constituents and practitioners alike are frustrated???
At a recent meeting of practitioners, I listened to many earnest discussions with well-intentioned subject matter experts expounding upon the need for more relationship building with at-risk youth, timely interventions, fortifying existing programs while instituting even more topical and comprehensive initiatives that can get to the root causes of why a juvenile makes bad/reckless choices. Additionally, it is encouraging to see a greater recognition for how many of our young people have been dealing with trauma-based exposures since the beginning of their lives. . .which necessitates more training for teachers, social workers, mental health specialists and cops. All of these discussions are evidence-based, insightful, and will better inform decision making on how best to invest time and resources over the long haul. I unequivocally support these good faith attempts as a means of preventing and interceding before small matters becomes big issues with criminal justice ramifications.
But the one thing I haven't heard enough discussion about are the needs of the victims of crimes caused by juveniles? What about accountability? When a 59-year-old mom is leaving work at 10pm at night and is jumped, thumped, and her car/keys/purse are taken from a trio of juveniles---only to have her family's car subsequently totaled later in the morning--who is speaking up on her behalf? Quite frankly, at this point in time, I am NOT preoccupied in looking at what "caused" these youths to transgress the law, I am more inclined to ask what the consequences will be for the behavior (assuming due process and an adjudication of delinquency)? While I endorse community-based restorative justice initiatives, I draw the line at serious, felony behaviors. Furthermore, victims need to stay empowered in making decisions on how to proceed with the management and prosecution of cases that do not (and should not) qualify for diversion from the criminal justice system.
By way of a short history lesson, Wisconsin's former Children's Code underwent a period of significant change in the mid 1990's. The enactment of chapter 938 marked a clear change in the way Wisconsin views its children. By situating the new Juvenile Justice Code (Chapter 938) immediately before the Criminal Code (chapters 939-951), the legislature signaled its intent to treat young offenders with a greater degree of accountability, with an emphasis on the protection of society from juvenile crime. While I still believe that the first steps in dealing with wayward youth is to "treat" rather than "punish," to keep families together by providing needed services, to remove children from the home only when absolutely necessary and to incarcerate kids only as a last resort, the legislative intent of Chapter 938 seems to have been lost somewhere in the translation here in Dane County. It is time to address juvenile behaviors that not only embrace what's in the best interests of the child, but acknowledges and acts upon ensuring the safety of our community as well.
The information contained in my blog is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 10/15/2018 through 6:00 a.m. on 10/16/2018, MPD received 432 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. For purposes of clarification, the following abbreviations are short-hand for race designations: W=White, AA=African American, NA=Native American, H=Hispanic, ME=Middle Eastern, A=Asian, MR=Mixed Race, U=Unknown. MPD shifts are staggered as follows: 1st detail=7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2nd detail=12 p.m. to 8 p.m., 3rd detail=3 p.m. to 11 p.m., 4th detail=8 p.m. to 4 a.m., 5th detail=11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
To further break down the 432 calls for service for the past 24-hours this is how the calls came in per district: Central (61), East (96), Midtown (76), North (49), South (38), West (72), and Other (40). Other=these are calls for service that either do not have a sector listed or the sector is not in the City. For example, if one of our officers assists another law enforcement agency, their sector is not listed in our districts so therefore it is listed under "other".
1) MIDTOWN: Assist LE – 7:44 a.m. Officers responded to a local hospital regarding a subject who needed to be assessed but was attempting to leave the premises. Officers made contact with hospital staff and the subject (38-year-old WF). It was determined that Mount Horeb had transported the subject, who had been making suicidal statements, to the hospital for an evaluation. Officers stood by until Mount Horeb PD arrived to take over the investigation.
2) WEST: Drug Incident/Overdose – 10:55 a.m. Officers responded to Bershire Rd for a subject/suspect (49-year-old AAM) experiencing an overdose in a vehicle. The suspect was administered Naloxone by MFD. The suspect admitted to using heroin. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation. After a medical clearance was obtained, the suspect was arrested and taken to jail for possession of heroin and a probation/parole hold.
3) MIDTOWN: Information/Child Abuse – 11:11 a.m. Officers, along with Child Protective Services, met with a child/victim (7-year-old HF) about possible abuse. No charges have been substantiated at this time. A safety plan was established and the child was left in the care of her mother. Investigation continuing.
4) SOUTH: Missing/Runaway Juvenile – 3:31 p.m. Officers took a report of a missing/runaway juvenile (15-year-old AAF). The juvenile has a history of running away. Attempt to locate aired. The juvenile was listed as missing/runaway in the appropriate databases. Investigation continuing.
5) NORTH: Assist LE – 12:33 a.m. Dispatch announced that the Dane County Sheriff's Office was involved in an active pursuit of a vehicle. MPD was in the area but did not participate in the pursuit. The Sheriff's office later located the vehicle unoccupied.
6) CENTRAL: Information/Check Welfare – 1:41 a.m. Officers received a report that a subject (limited information provided/known) had made suicidal statements over the phone. Officers attempted to identify the subject/contact the subject but were unsuccessful. Investigation continuing.
7) MIDTOWN: Assist LE – 3:07 a.m. Officers responded to assist the Town of Madison PD with a hit-and-run crash that occurred at the Beltline/Rimrock Rd. Officers checked the area for the suspect vehicle/driver. A couple of hours later, MPD were dispatched to the 6200 block of Mineral Point Rd for an intoxicated subject with a gash on his head. The subject was contacted and determined to be connected to the crash. The Town of Madison PD responded and took over the investigation.