Training background gives new Madison Police Chief Michael Koval - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Training background gives new Madison Police Chief Michael Koval unique skills for position

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 Madison (WKOW)--  The Madison Police Training Center was an appropriate place to officially swear in Michael Koval as the new chief of police. The site on Madison's East side has been Koval's home away from home for the past 17 years as he worked to train the next generation of police officers in the department.

"This has been my sanctuary. To have all these people whose lives have interceded with mine come back and say thanks or acknowledge what you've tried to do, it meant a great deal," Koval says.

Koval is responsible for training more than 300 officers who currently work for the department. He believes this unique background will help keep him grounded when he assumes the managerial duties of police chief. Former interim chief Randy Gaber agrees that this strong connection to his troops will earn Koval significant respect from his peers.

"Your direct, passionate and unique way of teaching, guiding and mentoring our new officers has not only helped define how we police in Madison, but you have created a legacy for exceptional police work in our community for years to come," Gaber says.

Over the last 29 years, Koval says he has developed a unique philosophy about policing. He says his top priority is to change the way the community views the department. He hopes to create a culture of police officers as guardians who protect instead of warriors who uphold the law.

"I tend to be very much a limitations on police powers as opposed to pushing it hard. I think that's the way you engender trust," Koval says.

It was standing room only at Wednesday's swearing in ceremony. Hundreds of city leaders and police officers showed their support for Madison's new chief of police. Mayor Paul Soglin spoke for all city leaders when he acknowledged the immense challenge that sits before Koval and the importance of his new position.

"We continue to be an outstanding city, but not one without challenges. Our chief comes to this position today welcoming those challenges," Mayor Soglin says.

Chief Koval was a finalist for the position back in 2004 when former police chief Noble Wray first took the job. Koval says not getting the position back then was actually a blessing in disguise. He says it gave him the opportunity to continue his work as a trainer and exposed him to several life changing lessons that made him an even more qualified candidate for the job.


Madison (WKOW)-- Madison police Sgt. Michael Koval will officially take the helm of police chief after a swearing in ceremony Wednesday afternoon. Koval was picked by the Police and Fire Commission in a unanimous vote earlier this month. He was also a finalist for the chief job in 2004.

Koval has spent the past 30 years on the department and comes from a strong patrol background. He says one of his main priorities is to change the public's perception of policing. He thinks of officers as guardians rather than law enforcers.

"Guardians creates the connotations that I would rather our public view us in the sense that we are there as a shepherd over the sheep, to guard them physically, defensively and from the standpoint of their legal rights," Koval said during his announcement ceremony.

Koval replaces former police chief Noble Wray who held the position for the last decade.

Tonight on 27 News at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. we'll have more on Koval officially taking over as the new chief of police.

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