NAACP plans to take concerns of militarization to MPD chief

Military vehicle could amp up tension in Ferguson-like clash, NAACP leaders say
NAACP plans to take concerns of militarization to MPD chief

A big theme coming out of Ferguson is the question over militarizing local law enforcement. And Tuesday night, during a Dane County NAACP meeting, executive members approved taking those concerns to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.

Dane County NAACP leaders have officially requested a meeting with Koval to discuss what they call the Madison Police Department’s movement toward a paramilitary state since they use military vehicles, like those seen in Ferguson.

The MRAP, or mine resistant ambush protection vehicle, was created in response to insurgent and terrorist use of improved explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After local police departments, like Ferguson and Madison, filled out grant request forms the feds gave them those vehicles.

“If you understand its manner and intent for which we intend its use, it’s perfectly understandable why we should use it,” Koval said.

While Koval said the MRAPs offer a barrier during a dynamic rescue type of situation, Dane County NAACP executives said if a Ferguson-like clash happened here, they think the MRAP could make it worse.

“I say it’s also a way to heighten tensions in the crowd because in a crowded environment you see that coming toward you that is not going to lessen tension. It’s really going to amp it up,” Dane County NAACP President Gwen Jones said.

The executive members plan to take all the concerns they talked about Tuesday night to the rest of their members during a meeting next week. Their request to meet with Koval went out Tuesday night, so they’re still waiting to hear when that will be.