Public voices concerns about MPD chief hiring process in PFC meeting

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 11:07 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Community members weighed in on the Madison Police and Fire Commission hiring process of the next MPD police chief Wednesday Night.

Four finalists remain as the PFC inches closer to making a final decision.

Many of the community members who spoke tonight say they feel left out the conversation. They’re demanding the public is more involved in the hiring process.

“It’s disappointing to have an ineffective body who is not listening to the citizens who has this much power,” Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, Madison Civilian Oversight Committee vice chair said. “This makes me very upset.”

She wants the community to play a role in deciding who will lead the Madison police department.

“We need to reopen the floor so civilians can ask the people who are going to enforce the law questions,” PFC meeting participant said.

The police and fire commission released interview videos of the four finalists Wednesday morning followed by the public comment period Wednesday night.

“I haven’t been able to watch the videos. I’ve been working all day,” PFC meeting participant said.

The decision process takes place during a time when police reform and racial justice are taking center stage.

“Our community is very vocal when it comes to what we want in policing in general,” Cecelia Klingele, UW-Madison associate professor of law said.

She remembers protests over the summer when demonstrators voiced frustration with MPD.

“The profession is needed to prove itself in a new way and show that police officers really are interested in gaining and retaining the public trust,” she said. ““Police officers and a police chief need to be ready to be listen, be thoughtful and be open to criticism in a non-defensive way and also bring something to the table.”

She said the incoming police chief must be able to navigate changing times and make a strong first impression.

”Regardless of how this police chief is chosen, it’s going to be really really important to make it a big priority to establish trust with the community,” Klingele said.

After the public comment period, the PFC went into closed session.

The committee will revisit this subject in the next meeting Monday, Jan. 14

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