In the wake of damaged trust between communities of color and law enforcement following a number of police shootings across the country, the city announced the first round of appointments to the newly created Madison Police Civilian Oversight Board.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, City Council President Sheri Carter, and council Vice President Syed Abbas reviewed nominations received from nine community organizations and selected eight individuals for appointment to the board.
“Community groups nominated an excellent slate of strong candidates. We are so pleased to announce these finalists and look forward to working with the Board on its important work of hiring a monitor in the months to come,” Carter said in a statement.
Those appointees are: Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, who was nominated by the Community Response Team and has been a longtime advocate of police reform; Ananda Deacon, nominated by Freedom, Inc.; Joshua Hargrove, nominated by JustDane; Rachel Kincade, president of Madison Organizing in Strength, Equality, and Solidarity (MOSES), nominated by NAMI; Ankita Bharadwaj, nominated by OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center; Yesenia Villalpando-Torres, nominated by UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence; Maia Pearson, nominated by Urban Triage; and Jacquelyn Hunt, nominated by YWCA.
“With these nominations, we get the Civilian Oversight Board off to a strong start,” Abbas said in a statement.
Rhodes-Conway also appointed Keetra Burnette and Keith Findley to the board.
Burnette facilitates the United Way’s Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration and is a member of the executive team of the Black Leadership Council. Findley co-founded the Wisconsin Innocence Project, was the co-chair of the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee, and is a former member of the Madison Police and Fire Commission, Rhodes-Conway said.
“There were over 75 applicants interested in serving on the Civilian Oversight Board, making our decisions very difficult. I am confident that both Ms. Burnette and Mr. Findley will bring experience, perspective and community connections that will help the Board succeed in its mission,” Rhodes-Conway said in a statement.
The City Council will appoint two additional board members in the coming week, and the mayor and council leadership will meet to appoint another person nominated by the NAACP.
All appointments will be submitted for confirmation at the City Council’s Oct. 6 meeting.
Legislation to create the Police Civilian Oversight Board was passed by the City Council during a more than nine-hour meeting that stretched into the early morning hours early this month.
The Civilian Oversight Board, which will be independent from the Madison Police Department, will work collaboratively with the community to review and make recommendations regarding use of force, hiring, training, community relations, complaint processes and other policies related to local law enforcement.