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Chief Koval's Blog

How to Safely Sell Items On-line, How to Dispose of Unwanted Firearms and the TRIAD Conference

September 4, 2015 9:22 AM

Have a cell phone you want to sell?  How about a coffee table?  These days it is very common to post items for sale on-line.  We have all heard about scams that have taken place when it comes to selling/buying an item.  While it is true that the majority of "transactions" are trustworthy and well-intended one can never be too safe or cautious.

The next time you agree to buy or sell an item, please keep these personal safety tips in mind.  Don't take your safety for granted!

When it comes to creating and posting the ad keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Do not put any information in the ad that personally identifies you if you don't have to; limit the information asked of you to limit your risk
  • Try to avoid placing your phone number in the ad as a reverse check of your phone number can provide a lot of information about you that can be used for ways that you had not intended
  • Review any photos that you are posting and ensure that identifiable information (such as license plate numbers, house numbers or location) are not able to be viewed

When communicating with a potential buyer keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Communicate only through e-mail until you feel comfortable that the individual's interest is legitimate
  • Buyers who claim to be out-of-area are almost always fraudulent
  • Ask the buyer to give you their phone number.  Call the buyer to ensure the number is working.  Talk with the buyer for a few minutes as this will help you determine if their interest is genuine.
  • Accept only cash

Selling a transportable item – tips:

  • Meet in a well-lit, neutral, populated, public area
  • Do not meet in a secluded area
  • Do not invite strangers to your home or into your home
  • Be extra vigilant when buying/selling high value items
  • Tell a family member or friend where you are going
  • Take your cell phone with you
  • Consider having a family member or friend go with you
  • Trust your gut

Selling a non-transportable item – tips:

  • Move the item to the garage or entryway.  You want potential buyers to see as little as necessary of your home
  • Arrange to meet during daylight hours and have someone with you at your home
  • Make the meeting a two-step process: 1) meet at a public place and ask for ID and 2) when you are comfortable you can ask the person to follow you to your home
  • If more than one person arrives make sure they stay together at your home
  • Don't give the item to the person until they have given you the cash

We want you to know about another option for selling/buying an item.  Go to a police station!!  The police districts are here to serve and protect all citizens.  The next time you want to meet someone for the exchange of an item/cash, suggest meeting in the parking lot of one of our police districts or our training center (see addresses below).  We have five districts and one training center in the City of Madison so there is bound to be one close to you!  The parking lots are a great place for the transaction to take place Monday-Friday 8am-4pm.   If the other person has any sort of plan to try to scam you then they will not agree to meet at the police station.  Like we said can never be too safe with your own personal safety! Happy buying/selling!

Central District: 211 S. Carroll Street
East District: 809 S. Thompson Drive
North District: 2033 Londonderry Drive
South District: 825 Hughes Place
West District: 1710 McKenna Boulevard
Training Center: 5702 Femrite Drive

On a different subject, our Department receives calls about how citizens can dispose of unwanted firearms.  MPD can assist you in this endeavor!  If you wish to surrender a gun, you can call Dane County Public Safety Communications (i.e., the 9-1-1 Call Center--but you should use the non-emergency phone number of (608) 255-2345).  Our personal preference is that you not add to our calls for service during "peak" hours or on the weekends.

Once you provide the call-taker with the particulars they need, an officer will be sent to your home to retrieve the firearm.  We ask that that you meet the officer at the door of your home WITHOUT the gun in hand.  Some basic identifying information will be asked of you and some data checks will be conducted on the gun itself.  Ideally, the gun should NOT be loaded when we arrive; however, if you are unfamiliar with how to unload a weapon safely, just wait for the officer to do this for you.  Once the gun is surrendered, it will ultimately be sent to the Wisconsin Crime Lab for disposal.

Our last subject is related to.... the TRIAD Conference, which is coming up!!  Here is some information regarding the conference for safer, smarter seniors!

The 2015 Wisconsin/Dane County Triad Crime Prevention and Safety Conference & Expo will be held Friday, September 18th from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at American Family Insurance National Headquarters' Training Center, 6000 American Pkwy, Madison, WI  53704.

The conference will contain speakers and workshops on subjects of importance to older adults, human service, public safety, law enforcement personnel and the general public.

Speakers include Gary Hamblin, Retired Secretary Dept. of Corrections UW Band Director Mike Leckrone, Attorney General Brad Schimel, Madison Police Chief Michael Koval, Dane County District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne and many other workshop speakers from around the state.

Examples of workshops include, 2015 Drug Threats, Hoarding, Guarding Financial Health, Domestic Violence in Later Life, Safe Driving "Keeping the Keys", Bus Buddys, Parent Addiction Network, After the Arrest-A Layman's Walk through the System, Older Adult Bullying, Identity Theft, Firearms, Concealment and Current Laws, Brain Health and Dementia Education for Law Enforcement.

By 2030 people over 65 will make up 20% of the population. There is a tsunami coming that the community should recognize and prepare for.

Register in advance. $25 fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and materials.

Scholarships available for older adults and continuing education hours are available for professionals.

For more information: or    608-441-7897

Posted by: Chief Koval

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