News Sample – Police Reform

  • Madison Board of Estimates recommends paying police Chief Mike Koval’s legal fees – Cap Times, Mar. 27, 2017
    • Former Madison alder Brenda Konkel highlighted the challenges for a resident to file a complaint with the police department and is not in favor of the city supporting the chief’s legal fees.

      “If you were to reimburse the chief for his fees that sends a very strong message to the community that the chief can do whatever he wants and the rules don’t apply to him,” Konkel said.

  • Police Chief, study say MPD needs more officers –, Jan. 4, 2017
    • “It’s the same old story every year — more police officers, more police officers, more police officers. We can’t just keep adding more police officers,” Progressive Dane co-chair Brenda Konkel said.
    • The study did not involve citizen input, which Konkel said was a mistake. She  believes  more resources should be invested into other organizations that can help with issues like mental health, instead of investing additional dollars into the police department.
    • “They are responding to a lot of things that other people could be responding to, and I think that we should look at separating that from the police department. I think that it would be more efficient and effective and we would get people that are more highly trained to deal with these situations,” she said.
  • Two Madison officers disciplined for posting off-color remarks on social media – Wis. State Journal, Dec. 9, 2016
    • “I’m glad they acknowledged the activities of the officers were not acceptable and in fact a violation of the policy, but it seems like there are no real consequences for the behavior,” Konkel said. “Sounds like they got a stern talking to and that’s about it. No retraining or corrective behaviors are required. If that is all that happens, what prevents them, or others from doing this again in a year?”
    • “I’m really worried that it was the Community Policing Team — the district problem-solvers — that made the notes on the white board,” Konkel said. “If so, that is significant and I think the public deserves to know (their names).”
  • Madison police officers reminded not to disregard backup – Wis. State Journal, Oct. 21, 2016
    • Former Madison Ald. Brenda Konkel, who has been a critic of police practices involving use of force, wrote a blog entry highlighting the new language on Wednesday.  “Chief Koval finally got it, after several people have died, he’s changed the policy, telling police to wait for back up unless there is a threat to someone’s safety (not property),” Konkel wrote in the Forward Lookout blog, adding later, “Could some of our recent high profile cases have turned out very differently if officers had waited for backup?”
    • Konkel told the State Journal on Thursday she believed the language on backups was added to the standard procedures because police leaders believed some officers were taking “too far” the largely unwritten discretion they are granted in responding to calls after they’re trained.

      “So (they) had to write this down,” Konkel said, adding it came as welcome news to those critical of how police have handled controversial cases. She cited the forceful arrest of Genele Laird this summer and the fatal shootings of black teen Tony Robinson and of 41-year-old Michael W. Schumacher, a man with a documented history of mental illness who broke into a home on Lake Monona in June and charged the first officer on the scene with a pitchfork.

  • Community meeting on death of Tony Robinson draws hundreds – Cap Times, Mar. 7, 2015
    • Local activist Brenda Konkel pressed Resnick, asking if he would introduce a resolution to allow for a public review of the Madison Police Department’s policy manual, which she says is currently being rewritten.
  • Madison police chief finalists:  Carl Gloede cheered by some, criticized by others – Cap Times, March 20, 2014
  • MPD captain says he’s OK with a ‘tiny house’ village, but not at the proposed location – Cap Times, Feb. 17, 2014
    • Brenda Konkel, a member of the board of directors of the nonprofit Occupy Madison, criticized department leadership on Facebook earlier this month for declining to meet with Occupy Madison. She called Lengfeld “a heartless police captain who thinks (homeless people) should live in the industrial area away from everyone else.” Konkel also recycled a 2008 blog post on Lengfeld advocating for a freeze on subsidized housing.
  • Occupy Madison’s ‘tiny house’ village plan embraced by some neighbors, cops not sold – Cap Times, Jan. 16, 2014.
    • Brenda Konkel, a vocal homeless services advocate and board member of Occupy Madison, told the group that she was surprised by the police opposition. Occupy Madison members participating in the project to build the tiny houses have had good relations with police officers and administrators and no problems at their current rented east-side workshop, she said. She said in follow-up email messages that they had been “blindsided” by police.
  • Banned from one, banned from all:  A look at Madison’s Collective Community Ban program – Cap Times, Nov. 1, 2013
    • “I showed it to five alders last night,” writes city insider and former Ald. Brenda Konkel on her Forward Lookoutwebsite. “Four of the five never heard of it. The fifth had a vague recollection … as did I, but I had no idea it had developed to this point. They also pointed out that someone shouldn’t be prevented from buying groceries or getting their prescriptions filled simply because they got kicked out of a bar … or coffee shop … or store … or restaurant.”
  • Police Chief Noble Wray apologizes to homeless people whose gear was confiscated – Cap Times, Nov. 1, 2012
    • When Brenda Konkel, a homeless services advocate, complained that the city had not followed state law that requires public officials to hold found property worth $25 or more for 90 days, City Attorney Michael May responded by email that since the police officers involved concluded that the materials were being discarded, those laws did not apply.

      The confiscated property was returned to its owners several days later, after it had apparently been put in a garbage receptacle.