Madison Interim Police Chief weighs in on new Civilian Oversight Board

Acting Chief Vic Wahl says he welcomes oversight if it builds trust in the community, but some restrictions go too far.
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Interim Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl weighed in on the new Civilian Oversight Board for the Madison Police Department on Tuesday, saying the police have nothing to hide.

Wahl said he welcomes oversight if it helps build trust in the community. He added he is confident in the department’s policies.

“If that helps people develop some trust and some more confidence in the department, an outside set of eyes looking at how we do things, no issues," he said.

However, he added the restrictions on police officers being on the board may go too far. No current or former MPD officer or their immediate family members are allowed on the board, and no one who has served as a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin in the last 10 years can hold a seat.

“I think by some of those limitations that are in place, you really exclude a lot of potentially valuable, committed people that could bring a lot to the board,” Wahl said.

The deadline for the oversight board nominations is Wednesday and the Common Council must approve each seat.

Madison’s Common Council approved the board early in the morning on September 2, following six hours of discussion.

The Police Civilian Oversight Board will not have the power to fire or discipline police. Those actions are still the job of Madison’s Police and Fire Commission. They also will also not have the power to participate in investigations of officer-involved deaths.

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