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Budget Amendments Would Eliminate Police Monitor, Add Cops

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Budget amendments to be considered by the City of Madison’s Finance Committee at 4:30 pm today would eliminated $200,000 allocated in Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s budget proposal to fund a new independent monitor of the Madison Police Department and add up to 12 more police officers to the force.

The addition of the independent monitor is one of 177 recommendations in the final report of the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee, released Friday after nearly four years of work by the committee. It might be the most important of all the recommendations, said Common Council President Shiva Bidar.

“I vehemently oppose the amendment to eliminate the police auditor position,” Bidar said in a message to Madison365. “This is the absolute cornerstone of the recommendations by the MPD Ad Hoc Committee.”

The report itself says the monitor is necessary to ensure the other recommendations are put into place.

“There is no doubt that, without an independent auditor or monitor, the MPD
would adopt—indeed it has already adopted—many of the reforms recommended in the following pages,” the report says. “But without the monitor, no entity, and no process, would exist to ensure continued attention to the ongoing implementation and updating of
the important recommendations in this Report.”

The proposed amendment, one of 25 to be considered by the Finance Committee, is cosponsored by Alders Barbara McKinney and Paul Skidmore.

Three versions of another amendment would add three, six or 12 more police officers to the Madison Police Department at a cost of up to $671,700. Rhodes-Conway’s budget proposal includes a $5 million increase for MPD to fund salary increases for current officers and other expenses, but not for increases in the number of police officers.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval abruptly resigned last month, citing, in part, inadequate staffing for the department and frustration with “politics.”

Neither McKinney nor Skidmore responded to messages seeking comment.