Dear Editor: In response to "Madison Police Department strives to reflect the community it serves."

Lt. Marshall cites statistics showing that the racial makeup of Madison police officers is comparable to the diversity of Madison as a whole. These statistics are accurate, and I don't doubt MPD's efforts to recruit a diverse set of officers. But Lt. Marshall does not tell the whole story.

In 2015, a State Journal analysis found that black Madisonians were arrested at more than 10 times the rate of whites. The arrest rate for African-Americans at the time was nearly four times the national average. This statistical evidence, along with clear anecdotal evidence from black community members in Madison, indicates that MPD spends a disproportionate amount of time and resources policing the black community.

If African-Americans make up nearly half of the subjects of MPD's arrests, as the State Journal analysis showed, more than one in 10 officers should be black. Year after year, MPD hears from community members of color that the department is not serving them — in the makeup of its officers, in its patterns of policing and arrest, in its interactions with community members. When will their leaders' policies and actions match their words of commitment to change?

Benjamin Olneck-Brown


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