Madison city council agenda item allocates $50,000 to projectile launchers for police

Chief Vic Wahl said MPD's 2020 and 2021 capital budget includes money to expand less lethal capacity

MADISON, Wis. — Madison city council members will decide whether or not to approve nearly $50,000 worth of projectile launchers for the Madison Police Department at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The launchers are listed in the same agenda item that budgets money for a new generator at Madison’s Midtown District station.

According to Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl, this is the department’s final item in their Less Lethal Initiative.

In a statement, Wahl wrote: “This budget request is responsive to community feedback, including an anticipated recommendation from the MPD Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee. This recommendation reads as follows: ‘MPD should consider acquisition and training in additional well-developed less-lethal tools, such as newer options for chemical sprays and better/safer kinetic weapons.” Thus, this request will increase the immediate availability of less lethal force options to officers responding to critical incidents. This project will fund less lethal impact projectile launchers, tasers, ammunition/equipment, and training for new instructors or armorers.'”

Wahl said the goal is to put a less lethal launcher in every squad car to reduce the chances that officers will have to use deadly force. Alder Patrick Heck is listed as a sponsor on the item but on a community Facebook page, he said that he will vote it down if the launchers are included in the item.