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MADISON, Wis. -Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says he’s “fed up” with the Police Department taking the blame for numerous issues identified by the Young, Gifted, and Black Coalition.
The coalition issued an open letter to Koval, Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney and other public officials last week issuing demands that include plans for a jail be taken off the table and that 350 black inmates be released, among other requests.
“I'm fed up with my department being blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to global warming,” Koval wrote in a blog posted Monday morning.
In the blog entry, Koval said the harmful impacts of racial disparity in Dane County are not in dispute and said that he’s used his position to raise the issue in the community.
Koval wrote that he felt compelled to respond to the following paragraph in the open letter:
"Although Madison's model of community policing and attempt to build trust between the community and police, even acting as "social workers," may be a step above certain other communities, our arrest rates and incarceration disparities still top the nation. THE RELATIONSHIP THAT WE DESIRE TO HAVE WITH THE POLICE IS SIMPLE: NO INTERACTION (my emphasis). Our ultimate goal is to be able to hold our own communities accountable and to expel what we consider an occupying force in our neighborhoods. Our people need opportunities for self-determination, not policing."
In response, Koval wrote, “MPD is not going to ‘reduce’ our contacts with our neighborhood constituents. In fact, we are going to ‘increase’ them! That's because I view most of our 'contacts' as relational opportunities for creating dialogues, establishing trust, identifying problem-solving initiatives, and improving the quality of life issues for everyone in our city.”
“Some of your 'ultimatums' are beyond the pale of what I can deliver or reflect inferences that are unsubstantiated,” he wrote. He listed six potential changes that he said he believes could address the group’s concerns and that they could agree on, like offering treatment instead of incarceration for those convicted of drug possession.
“It is time for Young, Gifted, and Black to look a lot deeper at the issues besetting our people of color and stop pandering to the 'blame game' of throwing my Department to the wolves,” he wrote. “I'm done with allowing this kind of rhetoric to go unchallenged.”
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