A citizen police review committee Thursday recommended that OIR Group of Pasadena, California, assist in evaluating the policies and practices of the Madison Police Department.
The MPD Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee approved the recommendation by a 12-2 vote. It still must be approved by the City Council and Mayor Paul Soglin.
If approved, OIR Group will receive up to $400,000 to continue interviewing community members and evaluating the police department to offer recommendations.
The citizen review committee was formed after the 2015 fatal police shooting of black teen Tony Robinson.
Three groups presented proposals to the committee Oct. 6. Committee members said two immediately became the clear favorites, OIR Group and Hillard Heintze of Chicago. New York-based Exiger was the third finalist.
Committee member Keith Findley advocated for OIR Group, saying it had an outside perspective and the other two groups have worked more with police departments in the past.
Hillard Heintze and Exiger had commended Madison for having a progressive police force, which Findley said showed a bias that would lead to little change.
“Madison does have that history as a very progressive department,” said Findley, who teaches at UW Law School. “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have problems.”
Former Madison police captain and committee co-chair Luis Yudice said the connections Hillard Heintze has with police, specifically the Chicago Police Department, should not be viewed as a detriment. He said Hillard Heintze had a better chance of convincing police that change is necessary.
Yudice and committee member Sean Saiz voted against awarding the contract to OIR Group.