Tense council meeting results in $400,000 study of police department

Tense council meeting results in $400,000 study of police department

The Madison Common Council has approved a $400,000 study of the Madison Police Department following a tense meeting where the police chief walked out twice.

Only one alder voted against the proposal, which calls for a review of the policies and practices of the Madison Police Department.

Things got heated at the meeting Tuesday, when there was a tense back-and-forth between Chief Mike Koval and Alder Samba Baldeh.

Koval walked out of the meeting twice. He walked out once when he wasn’t allowed to ask a question of one of the speakers, something that’s not normal protocol, according to the city attorney.

When Koval addressed the alders, he reiterated the department welcomes the investigation, but questioned the price.

“Besides having words twisted about the police not wanting this. It was not ‘want this,’ it was, ‘Is this the time and is it for that price?'” Koval said. “Those are completely different than saying you’re fighting an evaluation. No one has ever been fighting the evaluation.” 

“We’re not anti-police, but you know, there were several people last night who took exception to how the chief behaved during the meeting and his blog,” Madison Alder Denise DeMarb said.

City residents also voiced their thoughts on spending the money. Some expressed concerned the city was spending financial reserves for this study.

Sharon Irwin, the grandmother of Tony Robinson, who was shot and killed by a police officer last year, said the city needs to change the perception of the police department.

“Doing it this way gives somebody outside an opportunity to say well here’s your problems and here’s what’s good and here’s what we can change ,” said Irwin. “Otherwise there’s going to be more families like mine who are crying every day for a child who should not be dead.”