I attended a Madison City Council police oversight committee meeting and was surprised that I was one of only a handful of citizens in attendance. The others in attendance were the usual people who are quoted in the local media, and who evidently have great influence over members of the City Council.
Was the poor attendance because of the location or the time of the meetings? Are Madison residents apathetic about police issues? Or is it because the majority of residents (black, white, brown and members of the LGBT community) think the Madison Police Department is run well and well-staffed? Are they generally very supportive of a fine police department?
A small vocal group of people want the police out of our schools claiming that officers are the pipeline from school to prison for many students of color. Perhaps the real pipeline is that the Madison School District is unable to teach too many students of color basic reading skills. Blaming the police for all our shortcomings, including those of the Madison School District, is easy.
It is also naive, inappropriate and most importantly diverts attention from addressing some of our real problems.
Merrilee Pickett, Madison