Madison Officials Praise City’s Police Force As Civil Unrest Grows Across Country

Police Chief, Mayor Call For Citizens To Reject Violence

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. Photo: Rob Chandanais (CC-BY-NC-SA).

Madison’s mayor and police chief asked citizens to reject violence and commended the city’s police force on Monday, in the wake of the shooting of two police officers in New York City over the weekend.

The deaths of the officers in New York have led to public tension between the police and mayor there. That incident comes as public outcry continues over the deaths of black citizens in New York and elsewhere in the country at the hand of police officers.

Some of that uproar has surfaced in Madison: Residents held protests after a grand jury refused to indict a white former police officer for a fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said he doesn’t want his department defined by violent interactions between police and citizens around the country.

“I can tell you the Ferguson fatigue factor has taken its toll on my officers,” said Koval. “That said, somehow or another they summon up renewed vigor each and every day and go out there with a service-oriented perspective.”

Mayor Paul Soglin had high praise for the Police Department as well.

“Madison Police Department is one of finest departments in United States. It was a leader in community policing,” said Soglin.

Both Madison’s mayor and police chief used the term “assassinated” to describe the killing of two New York police officers by a mentally disturbed man who later killed himself.

Koval said that next year he will take some officers off patrol and instead assign them to do pre-emptive planning on how to deal with mental illness in the community.