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Black Officer Coalition

Mission Statement

We the members of the Black Officers Coalition are committed to bridging the gap between the Black Community and the Madison Police Department. Through inclusion, professional relationships and community partnerships we will develop and support the recruitment, retention and promotions of black officers within the Madison Police department.

Core Values

  • Inclusivity
  • Service to the Community
  • Collaboration
  • Dedication
  • Support
    • Mentoring for Success
    • Solidarity
    • Professionalism/Professional Development
  • Education & Transparency
Black Officer Coalition
Mark Bonds

Mark Bonds

Why you got into policing? I got into policing to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and engaging with minority communities.

What Black History Month means to you? Black History Month is a yearly reminder of this countries inability to acknowledge Black History as American History. Black history should be taught every day in order to prevent the eradication of stories such as Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, Stokely Carmichael, Kathleen Cleaver, amongst so many others.

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? While I’ve had family and friends who are a part of this profession, I cannot attribute any individual to leading me towards this career path. The choice to be a police officer was more about serving my community and giving back.

Where are you from? I’m originally from Chicago. I lived on the south side for 25 years before moving to Madison.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have served as a Police Officer for 1.5 years. I currently brief out of the Central District but I work all over the city.

Outside Interests/passions: I was a college track and field athlete and have coached high school boys in track and field back in Chicago. I’d like to get back into being around the sport. I also enjoy traveling, modeling and dancing.

Neil Crowder

Neil Crowder

Why you got into policing? What got me into policing was wanting to be part of a conversation that, growing up, I had felt largely left out of. The ideals of the profession and of our democracy are ones that I hold dear. I wanted to act in defense of those ideals, and to do so from my life experience. I knew would be a benefit to my community.

What Black History Month means to you? Black history month for me is a time to reflect on the history of our nation. BHM is a time to think on how to move the needle forward to a more equitable country. BHM, for me, is a reminder to reach out to all friends and family; those relationships and community ties is what makes us strong as a nation and turns us away from thinking of each other only as isolated individuals without past, present or future.

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? There is no one individual that I would accredit with turning me on to policing. For me, the desire to be an officer, came from wanting to do something for my community that I knew I could do well, with a good moral compass to do the job. I was also raised with the notion that sacrifice for one’s countrymen was an honor to be proud of.

Where are you from? I have lived all over, California, Georgia, Illinois, and Wisconsin, but I have spent the majority of my life in Chicago and Wisconsin.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have been serving as an Officer for 2.5 years. I was educated as a biologist and worked in research and development before applying to be an Officer.

Current assignment: I have worked the last two years downtown and will now be transitioning to the Midtown District.

Outside interests/passions: I am a new father and so learning my role takes up a lot of my time. I also spend a lot of time on home improvements, reading and staying fit-- both mentally and physically.

Kellen Dzick

Kellen Dzick

Why you got into policing? It is cliché, but I wanted to be a police officer since I was a small child, maybe 8 years old. I really enjoy helping people. This job allows me to meet and talk to so many different people, from so many walks of life. Most of the time, if it wasn’t for other calls for service, I would talk to my subjects for a much longer time. I find people’s stories fascinating.

I also believe in helping those who are disadvantaged in some way. Often people get into situations because of desperation. Their emotions get the best of them or they just made a mistake. I often tell people that I am not here to judge them. I may have to hold them accountable for their behavior, but this doesn’t define who they are.

What Black History Month means to you? Black History Month is a time for me to discover/uncover stories I never was taught in school. It gives me the opportunity to explore the real history of our country, not the whitewashed one. I continually read more books and watch more documentaries and this helps me put together a timeline of all the things which were going on in the different periods of our history; from slavery, to reconstruction, to Jim Crow, to the Civil Rights Era, and into the BLM movement. It also reminds me that I am a part of group of people in this country that matter and can have an impact on this country.

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? There was no one who guided me to this profession. Nevertheless, my family was made up of civil servants. My mother was a social worker, my father, a Lutheran minister, and my brother was a school teacher for a time. We were always trying to make people’s lives better, give them hope, to guide them. So being an officer was natural for me.

Where are you from? I was born a raised in Southern Wisconsin, but I have lived in many places. I was in the US Army and the government moved me to South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and a six month stint in Haiti. I also went to college in Colorado and was a police officer there for ten years before moving back to Wisconsin.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have been in law enforcement for 24 years. I worked in two departments in Colorado, Longmont and Commerce City, before moving to Madison PD.

Current assignment: My current assignment is at the East Police District. I have worked here the last six years. I am also on the UAS team, which I really enjoy.

Outside interests/passions: I enjoy playing sports, especially hockey. During the summer, I got back into my artwork and do chalk drawings of cartoons on my driveway for all of the neighborhood walkers to enjoy.

I enjoy working out and this allows me to eat copious amounts of frozen custard!

Hamp Johnson

Hamp Johnson

Why you got into policing? While in college I studied sociology and criminal justice. Towards the end of my time in college I had an internship with the Public Defender’s office helping with investigation. I had the opportunity to read a lot of police reports during my time there and by the end of the internship I was fascinated with police work and wanted to pursue a career as an officer.

What Black History Month means to you? Black History Month is a time to reflect with purpose on everything that those who have come before us have done to allow us to live the types of lives we can live now. I am always amazed with how strong our ancestors were in overcoming adversity and defying all odds to achieve such great things. It is a reminder for me to be strong and courageous in this life that I lead.

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? Kelly Dougherty, a detective with this department, was staffing an MPD recruitment booth at a career fair that I went to during my senior year of college. I wound up having a 20-minute conversation with her there and she really sold me on the career during that time. Soon after leaving the career fair I began filling out my application. The rest is history.

Where are you from? I’m from Detroit, MI originally but I have lived in Madison, WI since I was 8 years-old.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have been serving as an Officer for 5 years. I started the academy immediately after graduating from UW-Madison.

Current assignment: I am currently a patrol officer in the North District.

Outside interests/passions: I really enjoy weightlifting, writing/recording music, playing basketball, and video games.

Howard Payne

Howard Payne

Why you got into policing? I worked for the US State Department in Washington DC, and while working in the Bureau Of Consular Affairs (Passport Fraud), I began to see the legal side of matters; that I had never been exposed to ever. I contemplated a FBI application but did not know if I wanted to be a police officer; as I saw there being a true connection between the two career paths. I decided that working for a municipal policing agency to be in my best interest, and then making a jump to the federal level would be balanced with experiences that I would have obtained over a few years. This is what drew me to the profession, and why I sought out Madison Wisconsin; deciding to apply to MPD.

What Black History Month means to you? Black history month for me is a little different than to others I have talked with in the past. Carter G. Woodson was first instrumental in advocating for a dedicated week to recognize the contributions and achievements of blacks in this country, and college students pushed for a dedicated month in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. While I understand why this was a pivotal step to make sure that our contributions to mainstream society were known and understood, this month doesn’t have the same meaning to me as it might for others. I attended all black elementary/high schools and a historically black college (where black history was 12 months/364 days of the year), and I think the focus on February (the shortest month of the year) as ‘Our month’ is quite frankly insulting. Black people have been a part of this country before it’s formal inception in 1776, and since the 1500’s, there should be a push to formalize our rightful place in all academic realms of education (For 12 months and not 1)! Black History Month reminds me of true inequities, and I do not participate in what I think are a real failure(s) of progress. https://youtu.be/GeixtYS-P3s

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? There is no particular person that moved me towards this career, but my father being in the Marine Corps, and other strong figures in my past, were very important in my decision to undertake policing as a viable career. I am happy I moved in this direction.

Where are you from? I was raised in Chicago Illinois and Camden/Canton Mississippi. I went to elementary/high school in those areas, but lived in Indiana/ Washington DC/ Hartford Connecticut/ Ghana,West Africa. All those areas account for the first 21 years of my life and are all a part of who I am.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have been serving as a Police Officer for 25 years. I have worked on the SWAT Team as a Hostage Negotiator for 8 years, FTO for 21 years, Red Cross ‘Officer Of The Year - 2003’, LESB Certified Trainer since 2010, Public Information Officer for 20 years, and a number of other experiences within the Madison Police Department.

Current assignment: I have worked in the East District since 2008, and before that I worked mostly in Central District/West District on night shift (Patrol Services) for approximately 10 years. I have patrol experiences on all 5 shifts, and I currently work as the Neighborhood Resource Officer for the East District since 2019.

Outside interests/passions: I am mostly interested in foreign travel and I have been lucky enough to go to 31 countries in the world and 47 states. I am going to keep pushing this interest of mine.

Charles Pratt

Charles Pratt

Why you got into policing? I got into policing for a number of reasons. First, I was generally interested in it. I had a worked in public safety, EMS and Fire, but felt ignorant of what exactly the job of Police officer was. Also, I felt that my education, background and experience had given me skills that were well suited to be a progressive police officer, and would be especially applicable in the post-Ferguson era.

What Black History Month means to you? I have always used Black History Month as a time to remind myself about African-American culture and history. This often includes speaking with relatives about their experiences, cooking a special meal, supporting black owned businesses, reading a book or article, or watching a movie.

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? There was no one individual that guided me towards policing. However, I got to know a number of police officers while working in Pittsburgh and was often very impressed with the diversity of their backgrounds and their human understanding of issues. My grandfather was also one of the first African-American judges in Kalamazoo, Michigan, so I felt a personal connection to the profession as well.

Where are you from? I grew up in a small town (Groton) outside of Ithaca, NY, but went to college in Pittsburgh and lived there till I moved to Madison in 2017.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have been an Officer for 3.5 years. Prior to my career at MPD I worked as a Paramedic in Pittsburgh, PA.

Current assignment: I am currently the Mental Health Officer for the South District.

Outside interests/passions: I am working on a master’s degree at UW-Madison, so that takes up most of my free time. I also enjoying most athletic and outdoor activities.

Lucien Senatus

Lucien Senatus

Why you got into policing? Growing up where I’m from the police were the enemy. Even if you’re innocent, you’re guilty because you’re black. That was the lesson I received at an early age, so there was a wall of distrust that was built even before I had any kind of interaction with police. When I was in middle school, I got involved with PAL. At the time that’s what I called it. I did not know that it stood for Police Athletic League. But, while playing sports with PAL I got to interact with officers that look like me (I did not know they were cops initially). When I saw these coaches in uniform, it shocked me. I had never seen a black officer in uniform in person. Those officers understood us, respected us and a bond was formed.

Fast forward, as a young adult I understood more about the dynamics between the police and the black community. For me being a cop was a way for me to give people that look like me that same respect I received, and hopefully begin to repair the relationship between the police and black community. While I do believe that it is important that police officers are continuously trained on prejudices and biases, and that my white colleagues are approachable, I also know that there can be that extra layer of mistrust from the black community when dealing with white officers. I’m hoping to change that narrative over the course of my career. This is why I am thrilled that part of the BOC’s mission is the recruitment and retention of black officers. If the numbers continue to show that black people are having a disproportionate amount of police contact, then they also should be able to see people who look like them also wearing the badge.

What Black History Month means to you? Black History month is bittersweet. I wish we talked about the accomplishments and contributions of people that look like me all the time, and not just focus on the same individuals each year for 28 days. But, when I hear in the news that some school districts are trying to remove black history month as a whole, I’m glad that we have that month to focus on people that look like me.

A mentor or impactful person who guided you toward policing? My dad. He has consistently been the great man he is throughout my life. He’s always been stern, fair and most importantly consistent. Also, when my mom died when I was young, people were telling him that he should ship me and my brothers out to Haiti so that my grandmother could raise us. He vowed to raise us because we were his responsibility.

Where are you from? I’m originally from Miami, FL (born and raised). I then lived in Tallahassee for four years. During that time I started my policing career in 2016, then moved to Madison in May of 2018.

How long have you been in law enforcement? I have been in law enforcement for 5 years overall, 3 years in Madison as of May 2021.

Current assignment: Since graduating the academy I have been assigned to the North District where I work the graveyard shift (5th Detail).

Outside interests/passions: I love basketball; playing and watching. I’m looking forward to coaching my kiddos when they are a little older. I’m also trying to get back into poetry. I used to write a lot more when I was in my high school days.

Black Officer Coalition