The Future: A New Chief Speaks Out (Part XII)

future 3I am concluding this series on the future of policing with a short essay from a new chief and a person I hired over twenty years ago. He is Madison’s new police chief.

I remember my pre-employment interview with Mike Koval because when I asked him (as I asked many others) where do you see yourself ten years from now he quickly answered, “Your job, chief!”

Now he’s there and it’s now his opportunity to build on the past.


This is how Chief Mike Koval sees the future of policing.

“Regrettably, some of tchief kovalhe idealism that attracted me to a career in policing for the City of Madison (social workers with a gun and badge, circa 1983), have given way to a post-911 world where the ‘war’ on terror (actual or perceived) has created a much more militaristic, reactive, and tactical solution mind-set in many of our agencies. Looking toward the future, I see this as the new “normal” and it is disconcerting.

“When I peer into the future, I see the chasm between the ‘have’s’ and the ‘have not’s’ as ever widening. As a result, I believe that issues of challenged neighborhoods, homelessness, episodic events with those struggling with mental illness and a myriad of other issues related to dire economic conditions for many will continue to plaque our communities. The criminal justice system will increasingly become the first (and last) option as social service programs continue to free fall.

“At a time when our nation’s police department’s need to have officers eager to embrace their role(s) as social workers and community organizers, there will be heightened expectations on making communities safe – no matter the cost to individual rights of privacy.

“Yet I remain hopeful that there is still time to construct a paradigm shift away from this troubling prediction. It will require passionate leaders who strive to recruit/train/empower those who share a common goal of policing, committed to the proposition that our community would be better served with guardians than warriors.”

What do you think? What is your preferred future for police?


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