Madison police chief patrols on his own during holiday weekend
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes patrols on his own and rides along with his officers during the Fourth of July weekend to keep people safe and improve the police’s relationship with the community.
When Chief Barnes patrols, he is not on the hunt to find criminals.
”It’s not about looking for people to take to jail,” Chief Barnes said. “It’s about looking to let community members know that they’re safe and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Recent gun related incidents combined with a holiday weekend are another cause for more Madison Police Department officers patrolling the state’s capital city.
Chief Barnes said his goal is to decrease the fear of crime by talking with people about what it is that makes them feel unsafe.
He stopped at St. Bernard’s during his Saturday patrol after he learned that the Catholic church was vandalized.
Someone spray painted “ACAB” on their sign, which to some stands for an acronym meaning All-Cops-Are-Bad.
Chief Barnes said it is an inaccurate generalization.
“It’s not what people call you but it’s what you answer to. I’ll never answer to anything that I’m not,” he said.
It’s not his first time dealing with name calling.
“I came here from the south and people will call you things down there that perhaps you don’t hear so much in Madison,” Barnes said.
He admitted that the community’s relationship with the police is fractured.
”There is no magic pill for improving community police relations because I know firsthand some of the historical damage that police officers have done to communities, not just African American communities, but communities with our transgender population and our LGBTQIA population,” he said. “One thing about me [is] you’ll never hear me say I’m good at anything you’ll hear me say I’m trying to get better at it.”
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