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Madison City Council workgroup continues developing civilian review mechanism

Madison City Council workgroup continues developing civilian review mechanism

City-County Building

At its June 16 meeting, Madison’s City Council created a three-alder workgroup as part of a resolution creating a civilian oversight board.

Meeting for the second time Monday, a group of three Madison City Council members continued the work of developing the logistical, legal and financial groundwork behind implementing an independent monitor position and civilian review board. 

Alds. Rebecca Kemble, District 18; Shiva Bidar, District 5; and Donna Moreland, District 7, discussed informational technology considerations, heard from members of the public, reviewed related ordinances from other cities and discussed a work plan and timeline for the new position and board, which are meant to increase accountability with the police department. 

“We look really forward to getting this done for the city,” Kemble said, while thanking city staff involved in the process. 

At its June 16 meeting, the Madison City Council created the workgroup as part of a resolution creating the civilian oversight board. The group is charged with: 

  • Creating an ordinance that would establish independent civilian oversight of the MPD.
  • Identifying budget measures to support the civilian oversight board and independent monitor.
  • Identifying community organizations to nominate board members.
  • Creating a timeline and process for recruitment for members of the oversight board and auditor position. 

“We have four charges for this committee and we have five weeks to get it done,” said Moreland, who is the chair of the workgroup. 

Per the resolution adopted by the City Council, the group will complete its work by Aug. 4.

On June 9, the Finance Committee referred action on the independent monitor to a meeting July 10. 

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The civilian review mechanisms are recommendations from the Madison Police Department Policy Procedure and Review Ad Hoc Committee, which was created in 2015 following the police-involved death of teenager Tony Robinson. 

At its Jan. 21 meeting, the City Council adopted the final report of the ad hoc committee with 177 recommendations for the MPD, which has already implemented some of the suggestions.   

The group stressed the importance of not re-creating the work of the ad hoc committee, which spent years crafting the recommendations.  

“We have committed to basically translating the language in the recommendation into ordinance language,” Kemble said. “It seems straightforward, but I know legally it’s not because it’s never been done in Wisconsin and Wisconsin has our own set of state statutes that we have to adhere to.” 

Assistant City Attorneys John Strange and Marci Paulsen said they could have a draft of ordinance language by July 6. The work group is also scheduled to meet virtually Friday at noon. 

The workgroup also discussed reaching out to individuals and groups who were involved with the ad hoc committee in addition to groups involved with recent demonstrations, including Freedom Inc., Urban Triage and Impact Demand.

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