We are moving into the homestretch of the City's 2021 budget process. And while we have all been focused on the election this week, final decisions on the budget can have a big impact on the City next year. The Mayor has introduced her executive budget, and the City Finance Committee made several amendments to it in late October. Here's an overview of how MPD's budget looks for next year as of today:
The starting point for looking at any agency budget is the "cost to continue." This is what it costs for an agency to maintain the same staffing and services from one year to the next. And, as anyone who pays their bills knows, costs go up from one year to the next. MPD's "cost to continue" for 2021 reflects a sizable increase from 2020, largely due to a wage increase for commissioned personnel (2021 is the final year of a 4-year contract for sworn officers). So, MPD's budget would need to increase from 2020 to 2021 simply to maintain our current level of staffing and service.
From that starting point – the "cost to continue" – how is MPD's 2021 budget shaping up? A number of significant cuts have been imposed so far through the budget process:
- MPD stands to lose four (4) police officer positions from our authorized strength (moving from 483 to 479). This is tied to the decision to remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from the Madison Metropolitan School District high schools. While we will no longer have officers permanently assigned to the high schools, there will certainly continue to be incidents requiring a police response to the high schools. This work will now fall to patrol officers (with no increase in patrol staffing).
- MPD also will have to find an additional $1 million in personnel/salary savings in 2021. This is a lot of money...finding these savings will likely require a combination of strategies / approaches: holding positions vacant, reducing the size of the2021 pre-service academy, or imposing unpaid furlough days on MPD commissioned personnel. Any of these will adversely impact the ability of MPD to deliver service to the community.
- As a result of an amendment at the Finance Committee, MPD will also face an additional $250,000 cut to our 2021 pre-service academy. This will reduce the number of new officers we can hire, and create potential staffing problems in early 2022 (at about the time that MPD will be taking over policing the Town of Madison).
So, the proposed budget going before the Common Council next week will shrink MPD by four police officer positions, and cut our budget by an additional $1.25 million. These cuts will impact the community. The Common Council will meet Tuesday night (extending into Wednesday night and even Thursday night, if needed) to finalize the budget. Additional amendments to the budget will be considered; I expect one relevant to MPD:
- Earlier this year, MPD was awarded a federal COPS hiring grant to allow for hiring ten (10) additional MPD officers. These positions would be used to create a downtown Entertainment Zone Team, focusing on violence, property crime, and quality of life issues in the State Street area. The team would engage in problem-solving efforts in collaboration with other City agencies and community stakeholders. The total potential value of the grant is $1.25 million. The amendment would allow MPD to partially accept the grant, to maintain the four officer positions currently designated for elimination in the executive budget. It would result in no net change to MPD's authorized strength in 2021, and would use federal money to fund a portion of those officer positions. This amendment, if adopted, would still not maintain MPD's ability to deliver service to the community in 2021...we will still face a $1.25 million cut to the MPD budget.
2020 has been a remarkably challenging year for Madison and for MPD. We've faced civil unrest, daily protests, the COVID-19 pandemic, and unprecedented gun violence. The men and women of MPD are committed to maintaining public safety and serving the community, though our capacity to do so will be impacted by the 2021 budget.
The information provided below about some of the calls officers responded to 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 11/05/2020 through 6:00 a.m. on 11/06/2020, MPD received 368 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 (63), East (66), Midtown (68), North (58), South (42), West (42), and Other (29). "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 8:00am to 10:20am and from 12:45pm to 3:15pm due to calls for service.
CENTRAL: Damage to Property – 6:02 a.m. Damage to a door to the City-County Building was located. Video evidence was observed which showed a suspect causing the damage. Investigation continuing.
MIDTOWN: Residential Burglary – 6:13 a.m. Officers responded to a residence for a burglary that occurred overnight, including a stolen vehicle. The vehicle was tracked to Walmart and officers responded to set up on it. The suspects, who were inside the store, got into the stolen vehicle and were able to flee. The vehicle stopped at Grandview Blvd/Coventry Trail and the occupants fled on foot. The driver/suspect (14-year-old male) and passenger/suspect (14-year-old male) were apprehended. They were both arrested/charged with operating a motor vehicle without consent, resisting and burglary. The driver/suspect was also charged with eluding. The passenger/suspect had an active capias. Both suspects had on bracelet monitoring devices. Additional suspects involved in the burglary are at large. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Assist Fire – 1:50 p.m. Officers responded with Madison Fire to an apartment building on Northridge Ter that caught fire. Officers assisted with traffic control.
EAST: Domestic Disturbance – 2:25 p.m. During an argument, the suspect (19-year-old male) kicked down the door to his residence, spit in one victim's face, shoved her into a wall and held a knife to her throat. The suspect punched a second victim in the face and chased a third victim with a sharp object. Officers responded to the residence and arrested the suspect on multiple charges including damage to property, domestic battery, disorderly conduct while armed, recklessly endangering safety, and intimidation of a victim.
WEST: Death Investigation – 2:27 p.m. Family members discovered the subject (81-year-old female) deceased in her residence. Nothing suspicious found on scene.
NORTH: Mental Health Conveyance – 3:00 p.m. Officers responded to a local hospital to assist with placing a patient into protective custody. The patient was escorted to the psychiatric ward.
WEST: Information – 4:45 p.m. Dispatch received a report of a physical fight taking place in which a firearm was displayed. Officers made contact with subjects on scene and viewed video surveillance footage. The report was determined to be false.
SOUTH: Weapons Offense – 6:57 p.m. Officers responded to the 2900 block of Coho St for reports of shots fired and a vehicle speeding off. Officers recovered spent shell casings on scene. There are no reports of injuries or property damage at this time. Two suspects (26- and 36-year-old males) were arrested on charges unrelated to the shooting. Investigation continuing. Incident report completed on MPD website.
EAST: Check Person – 7:03 p.m. During an argument, the suspect (35-year-old female) armed herself with a knife and threatened the victim. The suspect was transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. Officers consulted with Journey Mental Health and placed the suspect into protective custody. She was later transported to Winnebago MHI.
NORTH: Attempted Suicide – 8:17 p.m. Officers responded to a residence where a subject (40-year-old male) attempted to commit suicide. The subject was conveyed to the hospital where he was left in the care of hospital staff.
SOUTH: Adult Arrested Person – 11:24 p.m. The Dept of Corrections requested that officers arrest a suspect (38-year-old male) for a probation/parole violation. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.
CENTRAL: Domestic Disturbance – 12:29 a.m. During an argument, the suspect (28-year-old male) strangled the victim, struck her in the face, and pushed her around. The suspect was arrested and charged with domestic strangulation, battery, and disorderly conduct.
WEST: Nonresidential Burglary – 2:53 a.m. Officers responded to Kwik Trip at 7717 Mineral Point Rd for an alarm. Security video showed a suspect forced entry through the front door and stole cigarettes before fleeing. Investigation continuing.