An incident on Friday morning merits highlighting, as it illustrates the potential real-world consequences of political/budget decisions. Officers were sent to an address on the East side in response to an individual having a mental health crisis. The individual's therapist called and indicated that the man was throwing himself against the wall and threatening to harm himself. He had access to a gun, and indicated that he was intent on forcing officers to shoot him. Two young children were present.
Officers arrived and staged a safe distance from the home, to formulate a plan for contacting the individual. His distraught wife arrived at the scene, and an officer was able to make phone contact with the children – still in the residence – and ask them to exit. The children described their father as clearly being in a mental health crisis, acting in a violent and erratic manner. He had been demanding that one of the children get his gun for him; the child hid it instead (it was later determined to be a facsimile).
A short time later the individual walked out of the residence, holding a large butcher knife. He was shouting that the officers were going to have to shoot him and waving the knife. Officers maintained distance and did not engage the individual. He entered his vehicle, and drove at the officers' staging area at a high rate of speed. They took cover behind trees and vehicles, and the subject's vehicle stopped just prior to hitting a squad. The family was still present at the staging area, and the individual was less than 10 feet away from them where he stopped. He opened the door – while holding the large knife – and started to exit.
Now I'll ask you to pause and imagine this instant in time. A large individual, in a mental health crisis, armed with a knife, exiting a vehicle...mere feet away from officers and his family. Shouting at officers to shoot him and seemingly intent on forcing them to do so. They're in a residential neighborhood surrounded by occupied homes and uninvolved residents. What options do the officers have? In seconds, officers will have to make decisions that could have a profound impact on them, on the individual in crisis (and his family), on the community, and indeed on the nation. How will it end? Have we as a City done everything possible to increase the likelihood of a good outcome?
On Friday, it ended well. Officers deployed less lethal tools...a Taser and a 40mm launcher (firing a sponge impact round)...forcing the individual to drop the knife. He was then taken into custody (uninjured) and conveyed to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. This was about the best possible outcome under the circumstances, and reflects fantastic work by the officers involved. It also wasn't an accident...it was a product of training, culture, policy, hiring, and having the right equipment (in the right place at the right time).
Here's where budget actions have consequences. I see no higher priority than doing everything I can as Chief to reduce the likelihood that MPD officers will be involved in deadly force encounters. One critical component of this is ensuring that officers have the right tools immediately available to them in a crisis. My goal is for every front-line MPD vehicle to have a less lethal launcher (40mm) in the vehicle, so we know that these tools will be readily available in a crisis when seconds count. MPD's 2020 budget includes funding to make progress towards this goal, and we have a small pilot program in place (doing testing and evaluation to determine the best platform, storage, etc.).
So why was there a 40mm launcher immediately available at this scene? You guessed it...one of the squads being used in the pilot program happened to be one who responded to the scene. That stroke of luck may have saved this man's life. This encounter could have had a very different outcome without the immediate availability of this important tool.
The current budget will not allow us to equip every squad with a 40mm launcher, and my efforts to secure funding for this purpose have been unsuccessful. I feel that as a City we owe it to the community to do everything possible to allow for positive outcomes in challenging circumstances like this, and providing our officers with the right tools is one critical part of that effort.
The information provided below about some of the calls officers responded to (Friday morning to Monday morning) 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 07/10/2020 through 6:00 a.m. on 07/13/2020, MPD received 1,167 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. A breakdown of the calls for service per district is as follows: Central (190), East (211), Midtown (203), North (207), South (137), West (141), and Other (78). "Other" is used for calls that either do not have a sector or the sector is not in the City. This would be used in the case of one of our officers assisting another law enforcement agency.
- Priority calls only from 11:01 a.m. to 3:01 p.m. due to calls for service.
MIDTOWN: Residential Burglary – 6:57 a.m. The victims (72-year-old male and 70-year-old female) reported unknown suspects entered their home while they were sleeping and stole numerous belongings as well as a vehicle from their home. Investigation continuing.
MIDTOWN: Residential Burglary – 6:57 a.m. A victim reported an unknown suspect entered his residence sometime overnight, took his vehicle keys and then stole his vehicle. The vehicle was recovered a short time later unoccupied and returned to the owner.
MIDTOWN: Residential Burglary – 7:01 a.m. The victim reported he returned home from work to discover an unknown suspect had forced entry to his home and stolen numerous items. Investigation continuing.
WEST: Residential Burglary – 7:31 a.m. A victim reported someone broke into her home and stole a wallet and purse. Investigation continuing.
WEST: Stolen Auto – 7:47 a.m. A victim reported someone stole her vehicle from her residence. Investigation continuing.
EAST: Weapons Offense – 10:13 a.m. Officers responded to a residence where a subject (51-year-old male) was threatening to harm himself while holding a knife. Officers consulted with Journey Mental Health and the subject was transported to the hospital for an evaluation.
SOUTH: Drug Incident Overdose – 10:38 a.m. Officers responded to a residence where a subject (36-year-old female) had overdosed on pain medication. Officers consulted with Journey Mental Health and the subject was transported to the hospital.
CENTRAL: Death Investigation – 11:03 a.m. A subject (37-year-old male) was found deceased in his residence. Officers located evidence of heroin use on scene. Circumstances were not deemed suspicious. Medical examiner responded.
SOUTH: Suspicious Vehicle – 11:05 a.m. Town of Madison PD reported they discovered a vehicle with bullet holes at 200 W Beltline Hwy. City of Madison PD detectives responded to process the vehicle. Investigation continuing.
MIDTOWN: Residential Burglary – 1:04 p.m. Officers responded to an unoccupied residence where two unidentified suspects had entered the home through an open window and stole cash. Investigation continuing.
EAST: Adult Arrested Persons – 1:39 p.m. Officers located a stolen van circling the area of Burke Rd and Christianson Ave. Three suspects (two 50-year-old males and one 29-year-old male) were taken into custody and charged with operating a motor vehicle without consent. One suspect was also charged with disorderly conduct and resisting.
NORTH: Weapons Offense – 3:31 p.m. Officers responded to the 1100 block of Ruskin St and made contact with a subject (53-year-old male) who reported another subject had pointed a gun at him while they were arguing. Officers did not locate the other subject who was reportedly involved and no charges were substantiated.
MIDTOWN: Missing/Runaway Juvenile – 5:54 p.m. A possible suicidal juvenile left a local hospital where he was being evaluated at the request of his father. Attempt to locate aired. K9 track conducted. Areas canvassed. The juvenile was listed as missing/runaway in the appropriate database.
NORTH: Assist EMS – 10:01 p.m. Officers responded, along with EMS, to a residence for a subject who attempted to kill himself. The subject was conveyed unresponsive to a local hospital. Journey Mental Health consulted. Probable cause was developed to arrest/charge the suspect, once he is released from the hospital, for domestic battery and domestic disorderly conduct. Investigation continuing.
MIDTOWN: Check Person – 11:07 p.m. Officers responded to a report of a subject who had cut himself. The subject, who was under a Chapter 51 commitment order, was transported to a local hospital. The subject was left in the care of medical staff.
- Priority calls only from 6:10 p.m. to 11:40 p.m. due to calls for service.
MIDTOWN: Weapons Offense - 12:18 a.m. Officers responded to the 2300 block of Allied Drive for multiple reports of shots fired after a large gathering was in the area. Shell casings recovered. Multiple buildings struck. A vehicle was also struck. No reported injuries. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
WEST: Weapons Offense – 12:53 a.m. Officers responded to a residence for what was originally reported as a stabbing. Officers located two subjects/suspects involved in a domestic altercation. A 35-year-old male suspect was arrested/charged with 2nd degree recklessly endangering safety. A 32-year-old female suspect was cited for disorderly conduct. No injuries sustained.
MIDTOWN: Weapons Offense – 4:01 a.m. Officers responded to a report of multiple vehicles loitering in the area of Revival Ridge. Officers arrived in the area and the vehicles began to leave the area. Officers heard shots fired. No reported injuries. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Stolen Vehicle – 7:08 a.m. A vehicle was reported stolen from a residence. The vehicle was located unoccupied in Maple Bluff and returned to its owner. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Theft – 7:31 a.m. A victim reported that a known suspect (49-year-old male) stole cash and checks from her. The suspect was contacted and found in possession of the stolen checks. The suspect was arrested/charged with theft and felony bail jumping.
MIDTOWN: Mental Health Conveyance – 10:50 a.m. Officers responded to a local hospital for a subject in need of an emergency detention. Journey Mental Health plugged in. Transport to Winnebago pending.
NORTH: Domestic Disturbance – 1:36 p.m. Officers responded to a disturbance between two subjects (female victim and 31-year-old male suspect). The suspect held the victim's head down and scratched her. The suspect was arrested/charged with domestic battery.
EAST: Crash with Injuries – 2:13 p.m. A driver/suspect (31-year-old female) was driving at a high rate of speed and could not stop in time at an intersection. The vehicle/suspect jumped a curb and struck a tree. The suspect fled on foot. An off-duty officer observed the incident, called 911 and gave directions to locate the suspect. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation and treatment to minor injuries she sustained. Intoxicants were located at the scene. Charges may be forthcoming. Investigation continuing.
CENTRAL: Disturbance – 6:00 p.m. Officers responded to a report of a suspect (33-year-old male) armed with a knife and causing a disturbance. The suspect was not initially on scene when officers arrived. The knife was located and the suspect was taken into custody when he returned to the scene. The suspect, due to showing signs of excited delirium, was conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation. After being medically cleared, the suspect was transported to jail on a charge of disorderly conduct while armed.
EAST: Check Person – 6:28 p.m. Officers received a request to check on the welfare of a subject. Attempts were made to contact the subject (phone ping, addresses checked, attempt to locate aired). The subject was listed as missing in the appropriate databases.
CENTRAL: Disturbance – 7:33 p.m. Officers responded to a suspect (34-year-old female) causing a disturbance at a convenience store on E. Washington Ave. The suspect was contacted and conveyed to a local hospital for a medical clearance. The suspect was arrested/charged with disorderly conduct and bail jumping. The suspect was also cited for retail theft.
CENTRAL: Drug Incident/Overdose – 8:32 p.m. Officers responded, along with EMS, to a report of a subject/suspect (19-year-old male) experiencing a drug overdose. The suspect was revived and conveyed to a local hospital. Once medically cleared, the suspect will be charged with possession of prescription drug and felony bail jumping.
CENTRAL: Check Person – 9:21 p.m. Officers were flagged down by a subject who reported that someone tried to stab him. Subject's account of what occurred did not add up. The subject was subsequently taken into protective custody due to concerns for his mental health. The subject was not cooperative. Journey Mental Health plugged in. An emergency detention may be sought. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Residential Burglary – 10:48 p.m. A suspect(s) entered a residence and stole cash and personal belongings. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
- Priority calls only from 12:36 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. due to calls for service.
- Priority calls only from 4:02 a.m. to 5:08 a.m. due to calls for service.
- Priority calls only from 6:03 p.m. to 8:09 p.m. due to calls for service.
CENTRAL: Check Person – 12:28 a.m. Officers responded to what was originally reported as a weapons offense (someone in a vehicle firing his gun all night). No evidence of shots fired identified/located.
EAST: Weapons Offense – 1:09 a.m. Officers responded to the 3000 block of E. Washington Ave for multiple reports of shots fired. Multiple casings were located on Marquette St near E. Washington Ave. No reported injuries or property damage. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
CENTRAL: Intoxicated Driver – 2:36 a.m. Officers responded to a vehicle on John Nolen Drive that had front end damage, flat tires and a driver/suspect (25-year-old male) attempting to drive away. The suspect was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (1st offense) and was released to a responsible party.
MIDTOWN: Weapons Offense – 3:31 a.m. Officers responded to a local hospital regarding a subject who arrived with a non-life threatening gunshot wound. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
MIDTOWN: Crash with Injuries – 6:51 a.m. Officers responded to Mineral Point Rd/Nautilus Drive for a single-vehicle crash. The vehicle struck a pole. The driver/suspect (27-year-old female) was conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation/treatment. The suspect was cited for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (2nd offense), inattentive driving, expired driver's license, possession of THC and possession of drug paraphernalia. The suspect was released to a responsible party.
NORTH: Disturbance – 12:01 p.m. Officers responded to two subjects fighting in the parking lot of McDonald's on Dryden Drive. The subjects were contacted and found to be related/brothers. The brothers were released to their parents with no further action deemed necessary by officers.
NORTH: Traffic Incident – 1:21 p.m. A traffic stop was conducted due to suspicious behavior and an odor of marijuana (squad was behind the vehicle in a drive-thru). A search of the vehicle yielded marijuana and a loaded handgun. A 25-year-old male suspect was arrested/charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and bail jumping. A 22-year-old male suspect was arrested/charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell while armed and carrying a concealed weapon.
CENTRAL: Check Person – 3:54 p.m. Officers responded to Langdon St for a report of a subject screaming and crying. Officers made contact with the subject/suspect (58-year-old female) who was drinking alcohol. Officers attempted to engage with the suspect who was not cooperative. The suspect resisted officers. The suspect was arrested for resisting and issued a citation for open intoxicants.
CENTRAL: Sexual Assault of a Child – 4:10 p.m. Officers met with a victim who reported being sexually assaulted earlier this year. A suspect was identified. Investigation continuing.
WEST: Intoxicated Driver – 6:07 p.m. An erratic driver was called into dispatch. The vehicle/driver was observed by officers near Mineral Point Rd/High Point Rd. The driver took off at a high rate of speed. Officers located the driver/suspect (29-year-old male) pulling into his residence where contact was made. The suspect failed field sobriety tests. The suspect was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (1st offense).
WEST: Intoxicated Driver – 6:33 p.m. Officers responded, along with EMS, to a report of a possible suicidal subject. The subject/suspect (59-year-old male) fled in a vehicle upon hearing police were called. The suspect/vehicle was located and a traffic stop was conducted. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital. The suspect failed field sobriety tests. The suspect was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (1st offense).
EAST: Disturbance – 9:06 p.m. Officers responded to a residence after the caller advised that her ex-boyfriend showed up at the residence with a crowbar and refused to leave. The suspect was not on scene when officers arrived. Investigation revealed no disturbance had taken place. No charges substantiated.
WEST: Sexual Assault of a Child – 10:02 p.m. Officers met with a victim who reported being sexually assaulted earlier this year. Child Protective Services plugged in. Victim safe and has no contact with the suspect. Investigation continuing.
SOUTH: Weapons Offense – 11:49 p.m. Officers responded to what was originally reported as a subject in a vehicle pointing a gun at another vehicle/subject. The suspect vehicle was observed and a traffic stop was conducted. A gun was not located in the vehicle. No charges were substantiated.
NORTH: Residential Burglary – 11:55 p.m. Officers responded to Woodward Dr for a report of a residential burglary. The alarm system went off in the home and the resident heard noises. It appeared that a suspect(s) attempted to gain entry to the home but fled once the alarm went off. Incident Report on MPD's website completed. Investigation continuing.
- Priority calls only from 1:07 a.m. to 2:20 a.m. due to calls for service.
CENTRAL: Weapons Offense – 12:33 a.m. Officers responded to a disturbance involving a knife. The victim reported being battered and that a knife was held to his throat by a known suspect (29-year-old male). Probable cause developed to charge the suspect. Attempts were made to make contact with the suspect but he retreated back into the residence. With the victim safe, officers disengaged from the residence. Investigation continuing.