Studying Police Is Money Well Spent

Studying Police Is Money Well Spent

The following letter to the editor was published in the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

The League of Women Voters of Dane County agrees that "The city deserves a professional and constructive dialog to promote public safety,” as stated in the State Journal's June 10 editorial, "Chief Koval right on substance but wrong on style."

Both the editorial and Chris Rickert’s May 26 column state that money for a study of police policies and procedures is not needed. Both ignore that in 2015, the city of Madison paid a $300,000 deductible in the $2.3 million settlement in the 2012 death of Paul Heenan, who was shot by a police officer.

It is fiscally prudent to seek expert advice on how our officers should deescalate situations before force is necessary. It is fiscally prudent to seek expert advice on how to employ non-deadly force to disable unarmed suspects.

Had the city undertaken such a study soon after Heenan’s death, we would have engaged the community in exactly the dialog suggested in the editorial. The minority community, and the many others who share their concerns, might have more confidence in our police department.

Let’s not wait for another tragedy to undertake a quality, useful study by a nationally recognized research group. We can’t afford anything less.

—Kathleen Fullin and Brook Soltvedt, co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Dane County

Image of newspaper courtesy of Sebastian Langer and The Noun Project