Task Force Issues Formal Recommendations Following Community Listening Sessions

Madison, WI (June 15, 2018) – In the fall of 2016, local immigration and refugee communities experienced a significant increase in anxiety, fear and unease which threatened family stability, trust in law enforcement, and overall community safety and wellbeing. Local law enforcement and non-profits asked the Law Enforcement Leaders of Color Collaboration (convened by United Way of Dane County and NAACP of Dane County) to evaluate trust between law enforcement and immigrant/refugee communities, similar to its Use of Force work. The Immigration and Refugee Task Force was created in summer 2017, and after a year of community listening sessions, research, and discussion, these are the Task Force’s recommendations.

The complete list of recommendations can be found within the body of the full report. This section of the Executive Summary synthesizes recommendations, in priority order:

  1. Community Action – Advocate for State Driver’s Card
    A state driver’s card would put the safety of all motorists ahead of the politics of immigration. Individuals would be required to pass a road exam issued by the DMV before receiving this card. As other states have done, this would make our roads safer and ensure more individuals are driving with adequate auto-liability insurance.
  2. Community Engagement
    Each jurisdiction should outline a formal community engagement strategy with its local community, including the immigrant and refugee communities. Growing skills in trust-building, relationship development and understanding the impact of law enforcement/civilian actions creates shared expectations and positive community outcomes. An engagement toolkit is included in the full report.
  3. Organizational Capacity Building
    There is an urgent need to emphasize context (demographics of neighborhoods, changing policies affecting immigrants and refugees, etc.) to better support our officers in their interactions with the immigrant and refugee community. Innovative pathways in to criminal justice careers must be prioritized to bolster diversity in recruitment efforts. Police jurisdictions must facilitate and implement cultural competence – including language fluency – in hiring, retention and promotion.
  4. Community Action – Reducing OWI’s
    Reducing OWI’s benefits the community as a whole, and reducing OWI violations for the immigrant community is particularly important. We recommend additional, culturally-responsive AODA supports for individuals seeking treatment, and recognition that jail bookings increase the likelihood of contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even for individuals who have lived and worked in Dane County for decades.

Chief Deputy Jeff Hook of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and Executive Director of Centro Hispano Karen Menéndez Coller co-chaired this task force. The task force also included members from the City of Madison Police Department, UW-Madison Police Department, City of Madison, and other community organizations.

“The work of the Immigration & Refugee Task Force is incredibly important – it represents a firm, much needed on-going public commitment, from a diverse group of community leaders and law enforcement to stand together, and call for actions that will further support and protect so many in our community who are fearful of what the future holds for themselves and their families,” says Karen Menéndez Coller.

“Legitimate policing depends on relationship building, effective communication and trust amongst all community members. National politics and uncertain immigration reform have resulted in heightened fear and distrust in the immigrant community which has been shown to reduce reporting of serious crime,” says Dane County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jeff Hook. “The dialog between the IRTF and the community led to personal, organizational and community understanding of the urgent needs of the immigrant community. The development of the set of community-informed priorities outlined the most pressing, tangible, next steps needed to build trust in Dane County.”

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval adds, “How can I, as a chief, truly report on the state of public safety in greater Madison, if there are people living in the shadows who are afraid to report crimes or who have been the victims of crime?”
“These recommendations are the result of ongoing communication that yielded a clear and necessary pathway for our community’s response to the safety needs of our immigrant friends and neighbors. All segments of our community must play a role in implementing the recommendations,” explains Greg Jones, President of the NAACP of Dane County. “United Way is proud to partner with the NAACP of Dane County to convene these crucial conversations, to align on shared goals of strengthening and supporting our community’s families and increasing public safety and health” adds United Way of Dane County President & CEO Renee Moe.

These recommendations are based on 30+ community meetings and 9 listening sessions across Dane County, and engagements with law enforcement officers committed to service and justice. These final recommendations support deeper community engagement, including advocacy by law enforcement with the goal of supporting public safety for all.

Immigration and Refugee Task Force Members (IRTF):
Karen Menéndez Coller | Centro Hispano of Dane County, Executive Director | IRTF, Co-Chair
Jeff Hook | Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy | IRTF, Co-Chair
Masood Akhtar | We Are Many – United Against Hate, President/Founder
Clara Barbosa | Madison Metropolitan School District, Spanish Translator
Fabiola Hamdan | Dane County, Immigration Affairs Specialist
Greg Jones | Dane County NAACP Branch 36AB, President
Ananda Mirilli | Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Education Equity Consultant
Gloria Reyes | City of Madison, Deputy Mayor
Silvia Romero Johnson, Ed.D. | MMSD, Office of Multilingual and Global Education, Executive Director
Baltazar DeAnda Santana | Orgullo Latinx, Director
Kari Sasso | UW-Madison Police, Assistant Chief
Charles A. Tubbs, Sr. | Dane County Emergency Management, Director
Jim Wheeler | City of Madison Police Department, Captain
Joe Maldonado | United Way of Dane County, Director of Community Impact | Staff Liaison

Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration (LELCC):
Greg Jones | Dane County NAACP Branch 36AB, President | LELCC, Co-Chair
Renee Moe | United Way of Dane County, President and CEO | LELCC, Co-Chair
Ruben Anthony, Ph.D. | Urban League of Greater Madison, President and Chief Executive Officer
Joe Balles | Madison Metropolitan School District, Coordinator of School Safety and Security
Matthew Braunginn | Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Senior Associate
Jennifer Cheatham | Madison Metropolitan School District, Superintendent
Chuck Foulke | City of Middleton Police Department, Chief
Jeff Hook | Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy
Michael Johnson | Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County, President, CEO
Mike Koval | City of Madison Police Department, Chief
Dave Mahoney | Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff
Karen Menéndez Coller | Centro Hispano of Dane County, Executive Director
Everett Mitchell | Dane County Circuit Court, Judge
Leslie Orrantia | UW-Madison, Community Relations Director
Harold Rayford | African American Council of Churches, President
Gloria Reyes | City of Madison, Deputy Mayor
Kristen Roman | UW-Madison Police, Chief
Floyd Rose | 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc., President
Theresa Sanders | Black Mothers, Member
Wesley Sparkman | Dane County – Tamara Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion, Director
Charles A. Tubbs, Sr. | Dane County Emergency Management, Director
Jim Wheeler | City of Madison Police Department, Captain
Keetra Burnette | United Way of Dane County, Sr. Director of Stakeholder Engagement | Staff Liaison


About United Way of Dane County:
United Way of Dane County fights for the education, financial stability and health of everyone in Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, United Way brings the many voices of Dane County together to find common ground, develop a strategic architecture for change, and make measurable progress, while engaging organizations and individuals with the opportunity to give, advocate and volunteer to change lives in Dane County.

About NAACP of Dane County:
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

About the Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration (LELCC):
The LELCC is made up of leaders of law enforcement agencies and leaders of organizations that represent communities of color across Dane County. The group aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement officers and communities of color.
In the fall of 2014, after several officer-involved fatal shootings across the nation, the NAACP and United Way of Dane County were asked by local law enforcement leaders to facilitate this Collaboration.