Madison Police Chief details progress, problemsPublished 9:58am Sunday, April 3, 2011
Madison is a safe, rapidly growing city, but it is not immune to crime.
That was the message from Police Chief Larry Muncey during his recent presentation to the Madison Chamber of Commerce during its monthly luncheon.
Muncey said Madison is an extremely safe place to live, but property crime and drugs exist in every city, including Madison.
According to Muncey, the top three crimes in Madison are domestic violence, theft from a vehicle and burglary of a residence.
Numerous drugs, ranging from marijuana to cocaine, were taken off the streets just last year, but Muncey said the biggest three drug problems in the city are prescription pills, crystal methamphetamine and crack cocaine.
“Prescription pills are taking over the world,” Muncey said.
To combat the problems of drugs, property theft and other domestic crimes, the Madison Police Department has taken a “Walk and Talk” approach to community policing, where officers will park their cars and walk the streets, talking with residents.
The department currently employees 109 people, including 77 sworn-in officers made up of 70 males and seven females.
With a budget of $6.3 million per year, the department employs 1.7 officers per 1,000 residents in the city, and answers more than 53,000 calls per year.
There are three shifts per day in the department, and there are never less than five officers on the street at a time.
But with more than 250,000 cars passing through the city each day, Muncey said the department never slows down.
“I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Muncey said. “If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife.”
During the last year, the department has established or expanded several programs, including the Citizens’ Police Academy, the Rape Defense classes and the Text-to-Protect, which allows residents to anonymously text in tips to school leaders and police officials.
The department is also putting the finishing touches on a 14,000-square-foot addition that will provide training, more conference rooms, holding cells and more.
A ribbon cutting to unveil the addition will be held April 28 at 3:30 p.m.
“And it’s all donated,” Muncey said.
Muncey said the training space is extremely vital in this day and age, where 55 police officers have been killed across the nation since Jan. 1.
And for the first time, more officers have been killed by gunfire than by vehicle accidents.
“It’s a dangerous job,” Muncey said. “You never know when you’ll draw the wild card.”
But it’s a job, Muncey said, that he and his department wake up every day and love to do.
And it’s a job that makes him proud to live in the city.
“If you had to live in fear, people wouldn’t be moving to Madison,” Muncey said.