UPDATE (WKOW)-- Madison's police chief, Mike Koval, says City Council members must be more vocal about their support of the police department in the wake of Tony Robinson's shooting death. This comes after nearly two dozen people spoke at a council meeting Tuesday night, most of them criticizing MPD (you can watch the meeting here).
In a letter to all 20 Madison Alders, police chief Mike Koval blasted the council for not voicing support for the department.
“...your collective silence is DEAFENING,” he wrote. “It is unacceptable for elected officials to remain silent while an institution like the MPD is sullied with drive-by disrespect.”
The chief says he wanted to write the letter for some time, but the tipping point came at a council meeting Tuesday, when nearly 2 dozen people spoke, accusing the department of murder and racism.
“It's their department,” Koval said of the council. "I would like to see their acknowledgment and validation of the work.”
Ald. Paul Skidmore supported the chief's message.
“It's about time that somebody stood up for the department,” Skidmore said.
But, Skidmore says the council also has to acknowledge the tragedy of Robinson's death and the concerns of the community.
“We're alders and many of us work hard to walk that balance line and allow public comment, which we have but we also have a responsibility to our officers to make sure we protect them,” Skidmore said.
The rules did not allow for comment or questions from the council Tuesday- it was only public comment, but Ald. David Ahrens says alders could and should have spoken up earlier.
“Many city council members and county board members, issued a statement that again also apologized for what happened,” Ahrens said. “I think that letter also could have mentioned that this was a situation between two individuals and should not reflect on the hundreds of people who serve in the police department.”*********
As the City has been through a lot over the past l0 days, an uneasy peace has settled in until we await the next seminal decision from the District Attorney's Office. The tension on the streets is palpable and my officers are doing the best they can to remain pro-active and relational. Not an easy task given the various veiled and stark threats to police officers that have been made through various social media networks and on the streets. I have challenged my officers to stay true to our values, adhere to our training in situational awareness, and to resist the urge to adopt a “bunker” mindset. The women and men of MPD have done more than their share of risk taking for this community and it is high time you did yours!