Proposal Would Cost $3 Million Over 3 Years
By Bridgit Bowden
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was joined by grassroots organizers to announce a plan addressing racial disparities and violence prevention on Wednesday afternoon. The Focused Interruption Committee includes leaders from the NAACP, MOSES, Nehemiah and other community groups.
The committee’s 15-point plan would cost $3 million over three years, and is endorsed by Mayor Soglin and Alders Maurice Cheeks and Matt Phair.
The plan includes funding for youth employment and coaches who will work with the community to prevent violence and reduce recidivism. Long-term, the plan will help the police and fire departments deal with mental health issues in the community, Soglin said.
“When we have a mental health crisis, we’re expending more than one-third of the police and fire department budget to deal with issues that they did not create, but are the result of failures, gross failures within our nation and in our state,” he said.
The community must address and understand the “nature of racism” in order to address problems like policing and gun violence, Soglin said.
“Racism is destroying our nation,” he said. “It’s crushing us, it is stopping opportunity, it is creating heartbreak, it is not just dangerous, but it saps our will and it destroys our commitment to our future.”
The plan also proposes the creation of an independent civilian division that would work in conjunction with the Madison Police Department called the Madison Alternative Policing Strategy, or MAPS.
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