For about a year, Madison’s police civilian oversight board has been searching for its other half — an independent police monitor. Together, the board and monitor could establish more community control over the city’s police department, a process years in the making and a demand of protesters during last summer’s demonstrations.
Board vice chair Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores says the field has been narrowed down to 15 finalists.
“We had 30 applicants from around the country. 15 of those met our minimum qualifications, and are in the process of being assessed, so it’s going really well.” Kilfoy-Flores said.
The independent police monitor job, and oversight board, were initially created last September.
The independent monitor application window opened earlier this summer and closed on August 16th. Kilfoy-Flores says the 15-candidate field will be whittled down further in the coming weeks.
The candidates will go through two rounds of interviews with the board, which is currently in the process of writing interview questions. Kilfoy-Flores says a final candidate will likely be chosen in mid-October.
Kilfoy-Flores says the year-long wait will be worth it, as the board is taking their time to truly choose the best candidate for the position.
“We’re trying really hard to not rush the process. We did extend the application date so we could get more applicants and now, we are just looking forward to moving on and hopefully getting the best qualified candidate that we can.” Kilfoy-Flores said.
Even after the position has been filled, change will not come overnight, Kilfoy-Flores says.
She says hiring the Independent Monitor is an important first step in the process of police reform in Madison.
“We are (also) really trying to figure out how to incorporate more community input into the hiring of the Independent Police Monitor, but also into what it is the community needs, what is the vision of the community, what are the needs of the community.” Kilfoy-Flores said.
This process comes as the City of Madison faces a lawsuit over the composition of the community control board. The lawsuit comes from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative legal firm, representing local conservative David Blaska. Blaska, who is white, maintains he was racially discriminated against when he was not selected to serve on the community control board.
Last week the city of Madison filed an answer to Blaska’s complaint, denying that they had racially discriminated against Blaska. City Attorney Mike Haas says a pre-trial conference is being held on September 30th to see if WILL and Blaska will be able to move forward with a lawsuit.
According to the city’s job listing the independent police monitor will make between $104,000 to $140,000 per year. The Capital Times reports that’s about the same salary range as some city department directors.
Image Courtesy: Brian Standing for WORT-FM on Flickr