Last September, Madison took steps to establish more transparency and accountability with the police department. The first was an oversight board that has been meeting since November. The second is a step closer to becoming a reality.
The wording comes from the city’s Police Civilian Oversight Board, which was created last year and is made up of 13 members who will work closely with the monitor. Chair Keetra Burnette says hiring a monitor is one of the group’s biggest tasks this year. “We’re all really excited to place someone in this position, so some of the weight of the work we are doing now can be lifted up off the shoulders of volunteers and on to the shoulders of paid staff,” Burnette explains.
The Independent Monitor will have their own office and staff. They will oversee the Madison Police Department’s compliance with policies and procedures, and make research-based recommendations on those policies. They will also review use of force incidents and oversee civilian complaints. Additionally they will provide the Mayor and Alders with recommendations and reports on police activity.
Requirements for the Independent Police Monitor include 4 years of experience in administration, police oversight, or a related field and a relevant degree. However, experience may be considered in lieu of formal education. Additionally, they must have experience in community building and experience with individuals of diverse ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Alder Sheri Carter proposed an amendment to revert some language to a previous description that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field closely related to criminology. However, the amendment was defeated 12 to 7.
Human Resource Director Harper Donahue says he expects to see many qualified candidates in a competitive search. “The individual who gets this job has a better idea than most folks on this call in regards to what the needs of that position are,” he says.
Donahue estimates the search will take 3 to 4 months and the Cap Times reports the job will be listed in the next few weeks.
Image by Brian Standing for WORT News