Fmr. state parole commission chair selected as Madison Independent Police Monitor

Tate resigned in June from the Wisconsin Parole Commission after a request from Gov. Tony Evers.
The first Independent Police Monitor in the City of Madison has been named to oversee the city’s police department.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 2:54 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The first Independent Police Monitor in the City of Madison has been named to oversee the city’s police department.

The Police Civilian Oversight Board has selected John Tate II for the position, who will ensure Madison Police Department complies with its internal policies and procedures.

Tate resigned as chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission in June, a month after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers asked Tate to step down in the midst of Republican criticism over parole plans for a convicted murderer.

The board highlighted that Tate has a master’s degree in social work, specialized in mental health studies, from Loyola University Chicago. He has served as a chairperson for the Wisconsin Parole Commission, as an alder for the City of Racine’s Third District, and as a social worker.

PCOB Chair Keetra Burnette said the 13-member oversight group was looking forward to working with Tate.

“Throughout his career, Mr. Tate has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to actively listening to – and serving as an advocate for – some of the most marginalized individuals and families in our state,” Burnette said. “We believe that Mr. Tate’s ability to stand firm in support of difficult decisions and his proven ability to collaboratively solve problems by engaging with and centering the voices of diverse community members will make him a tremendous asset to our community.”

Tate is set to start on Dec. 5 once he is approved by the Madison Common Council and is scheduled to receive a salary of $125,000.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Tate on his selection by the PCOB for the position of Independent Monitor,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway. “I look forward to working with him as he establishes the Office of the Independent Monitor and begins this important work.”

Gov. Evers had requested Tate step down from the parole commission after Douglas Balsewicz appeared to be on his way to freedom after serving less than 25 years of his 80-year sentence for stabbing his wife to death in 1997. Evers received heavy criticism from GOP gubernatorial candidates at the time. Instead, Tate changed his mind after the governor said the family hadn’t gotten a chance to fully respond to the move. Tate did not mention the Balsewicz case in his resignation letter, but said he was told at the outset it was the most difficult job in the state.

Four finalists, including Tate, were named for the Independent Police Monitor position in August.

The board’s responsibilities include reviewing police department policies and practices, as well as to request investigations. The Madison Police and Fire Commission is responsible for any disciplinary measures or terminations of officers.

A lawsuit was filed in June of 2021 against the City of Madison alleging discrimination on its Police Civilian Oversight Board. At the time, the lawsuit alleged that a man was not chosen to serve on the oversight board because he is white.

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