Chief Mike Koval

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said an increased enforcement effort that launched Aug. 10 concluded with some success. 

PHOTO BY MICHELLE STOCKER

The Madison Police Department’s effort to crack down on “egregious offenders” wrapped up before Labor Day with Chief Mike Koval noting some success.

Madison experienced an increase in gun violence this summer including ten homicides, which has not happened since 2008. Koval said many of the same individuals surface each time there is a shooting or homicide and that many have ties to gangs and access to guns.

Koval has previously said that there are four or five dozen people that are “holding a city of a quarter of a million hostage to our fears.”

“Over the course of four weeks, with ‘all hands on deck’ and a considerable investment of time and expense, we were able to make some headway in mitigating the magnitude and frequency of the most egregious acts,” Koval said in the post Wednesday. “And while any acts of violence are intolerable, the City did have some relative ‘success’ in stemming the escalation and trend lines of what had been a rough summer.”

MPD Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain said 40 individuals have been arrested in connection to the concentrated enforcement effort, and data from this past weekend is still being compiled. 

The increased enforcement initiative launched Aug. 10, but Koval said the effort is not sustainable due to staffing, finances and employee wellness implications. He said the MPD will continue conducting weekly operations looking for wanted individuals and violent gang members.

As Madison as it gets: Get Cap Times' highlights sent daily to your inbox

However, Koval stressed that arrests are a temporary solution to apprehending individuals and many are released shortly after being taken into custody.

“It was my hope that by having our personnel pulled from their other responsibilities in heightening our visibility in neighborhoods, providing a presence in hot spots, and by identifying and arresting targets associated with guns, drugs, and violence, we could temporarily alter the ascending patterns of disorder that was permeating everyone's quality of life,” Koval said.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.