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Police Chief to Common Council: “You are being watched”


Saying he won’t “back down in a fight,” Madison Police Chief Mike Koval posted a nearly-1,200-word blog post Sunday night slamming the Common Council for spending $400,000 on a “report card” for his department.

The Council is set to vote on whether to spend $400,000 to hire a consultant to evaluate the practices, policies and procedures of the Madison Police Department. The proposal comes as a recommendation from the 14-member Police Policy and Procedure Review Ad-hoc Committee, created by Council resolution last spring and convened last fall. Most members of the committee are people of color.

In the blog post, Koval said he will not oppose the spending proposal or the evaluation. “Bring it on. We have nothing to hide and much to brag about,” he wrote. “We will accept an independent review of the way we do business. I am confident that our ‘report card’ will demonstrate the myriad of good things that are taking place by great employees.”

But, he wrote, he thinks it’s a waste of money.

“Don’t confuse a willingness to be reviewed with a separate question associated with the cost(s) to conduct such an assessment,” he wrote. “When not-for-profits and community leaders and activists are begging and bemoaning funding for engagement initiatives that are urgently needed, particularly as we head into summer months with youth out of schools and in dire need of constructive options, the City is marching forward demanding a total of $400,000 to get a report card on MPD.”

Matthew Braunginn, a member of the committee, justified the amount.

“We arrived at the $400,000 based upon similar types of reviews from other police departments,” he said. “If it was any less than that it would have been an incomplete review and a waste of money. It would have just been a rubber stamp to save face.”

“It’s not at all unusual for the city to hire a consultant to audit or review how we are doing things in different areas,” said Alder Shiva Bidar, a lead sponsor of the resolution calling for the review.

Koval also accused the Council of buckling to a vocal minority.

“The ‘perpetually offended’ of Madison who use their small but vocal numbers to dictate agendas has an incredible grip on this City,” he wrote. “But no one dares to raise a voice lest they be marginalized in the PC world of Madison.”

Noting that the Common Council did nothing to recognize police officers during the recent Local Police Week, Koval wrote, “To the Common Council: You are being watched. And be on notice:  this is a pre-emptive first strike from me to you. I am going to push back hard when MPD is constantly used as a political punching bag and you are nowhere to be found.”

“I was not surprised that he would push back, but I am shocked at the language used,” said Bidar. “The language is very confrontational and threatening.”

“‘Perpetually offended,’ ‘PC world of Madison,’ those are dog whistles,” said Braunginn. “That’s the language Donald Trump uses. Who’s the crowd he’s speaking to when he uses that language? Who’s the crowd he’s trying to rile up?”

The Common Council is widely expected to pass the resolution at its June 7 meeting.