Madison police chief speaks out against school board amendment

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Madison Police Chief Mike Koval spoke out Tuesday against an amendment made to a potential contract with Madison schools.

The contract would keep officers in four Madison high schools, and was voted for 4-2 at the school board meeting Monday night. However, the amendment added by the board would allow for the district to remove officers from schools for "cause."

The amendment discussed at the meeting would ultimately mean that if MMSD requested MPD to assign a replacement for an officer, a replacement would be assigned.

Chief Koval is opposed to the amendment. He said the district and police had already negotiated before the Monday night meeting and said he had made clear he would not support language that would allow the district to decide the removal of officers for cause because of state statutes.

"I need to see some language that might ultimately achieve what it is that they’re seeking, short of removing what is already in place as a statutory process for dealing with punishment and removal and discipline of police officers," he said. "That’s not in their purview.”

In his blog, Chief Koval said that "the City cannot discipline an officer without complying with these statutory requirements," referencing Wisconsin Statute 62.13 (3m).

"I'm hot under the collar under this item," Chief Koval said. "If they didn't get it, I think it should be manifestly clear, this is non-negotiable."

The school board was reminded during their Monday meeting that they had tried to use this sort of language to enable the removal of officers previously, but that had been rejected by MPD.

Chief Koval said that he hopes to move past this amendment and forward with the partnership, as long as the language is dropped.

"I want MPD to be an integrated partner to the school environment and to promote public safety and expounding the achievements of all of our students," he said. "But I'm not going to do this at the risk of again circumventing established legal processes that are in place for dealing with these very matters. The district should have known, they were told, and shame on them for not listening."