It wasn’t an easy or a short process, but the Madison Common Council has voted “to create an independent police monitor and a civilian review board to provide greater accountability of the city’s police department,” according to reporting in Wisconsin Examiner.
It’s a major step in the right direction as many Wisconsin municipalities fight for reform and better oversight in their police departments. However, it’s not a step that was achieved quickly. It took years of activism, deliberation and data-collection, culminating in a debate and public comment on the new measures that lasted over 6 hours.
But it was well worth the wait, among the many functions that both the independent monitor and review board will have include:
The role of the independent monitor will have the power to investigate all police department personnel and report to the oversight board. The monitor will also be able to hire legal counsel for citizens filing complaints against the Madison Police Department with the Police and Fire Commission. The monitor will have mostly “unfettered access” to police department records with the exception of some personnel records protected by law.
The board will be able to make policy recommendations to the police department, as well as conduct its own investigations and wield its own subpoena power.
You can read more on the process that got us this far and what to expect next here.