Leaders from communities of color and law enforcement (Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration, aka Community Collaboration) have been meeting since October of 2014 in the wake of the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, MO to discuss and address issues of relationships between those communities and law enforcement. Following the officer-involved shooting of Tony Robinson on March 6, meetings increased with a renewed sense of urgency and gravity to establish community-informed standards within the issues of greatest concern in community policing.
The Community Collaboration, co-chaired by Greg Jones, President of Dane County NAACP and Leslie Ann Howard, President of United Way of Dane County, has created a community task force to look at major issues they’ve identified to improve relationships between communities of color and law enforcement. Use of force will be the first area of focus and members of the task force will review state statutes and guidelines, current training, policy and procedures, and establish recommendations in this area to present to law enforcement throughout Dane County.
“The Madison Police Department strongly supports this community collaboration and we welcome the opportunity to participate,” Chief Koval said. “While constitutional precedence necessarily shape existing policies and procedures, it is certainly appropriate to undertake a process of review in order to identify and address specific use of force issues. At the end of the day, building trust and ensuring a safer community for all are of the utmost concern.”
The Special Community/Police Task Force will be Co-Chaired by Everett Mitchell, Pastor, Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church, and Chief Susan Riseling, University of Wisconsin-Madison Police. Members of the Task Force include: Bishop Harold Rayford, President, African American Council of Churches; Gloria Reyes, Assistant to the Mayor, City of Madison; Chief Mike Koval, City of Madison Police; Theresa Sanders, Black Leadership Council; Tamara Grigsby, Dane County; Sheriff David Mahoney, Dane County; Amelia Royko Maurer, Community Activist; Luis Yudice, Madison Metropolitan School District; Chuck Foulke, Middleton Police Chief, Dane County Police Chiefs Association; and Dr. Ruben Anthony, President/CEO, Urban League of Greater Madison. The Task Force will receive staff support by United Way of Dane County.
“We want to ensure that we are policing in step with our community and their expectations,” Chief Riseling said. “Therefore, we are reviewing the use of police force in all of its facets. We are anxious to get started, and excited about the knowledge each task force member brings to this very challenging subject matter.”
“This task force is a bridge to the community, and we will bring into focus the community morality in addition to the legal morality,” Reverend Mitchell said. “We need to make a bold commitment to moving forward.”