City of Madison email system overwhelmed by Heimsness petition - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

City of Madison email system overwhelmed by Heimsness petition campaign


MADISON (WKOW) -- The City of Madison's email system has been overwhelmed with emails generated by an online petition to keep Officer Stephen Heimsness off the streets.

A police department investigation and an investigation by the Dane County District Attorney's office both cleared Heimsness of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of Paul Heenan on November 9. Heimsness shot and killed Heenan, who was unarmed, on Madison's near east side while responding to what he thought was a burglary in progress.

The U.S. Justice Department will also review the shooting, as Heimsness remains on leave.

Now, the petition website,, calling for Madison Police Chief Noble Wray to keep Officer Stephen Heimsness off the streets, caused delays or denied delivery of other traffic email to the City of Madison because of the high volume of messages it generated. City officials say the number of messages to the mailbox continued to grow until tens of thousands of messages became backlogged to the city's email system.

According to city officials, they had to block email traffic from the petition website because of the ability for users to share via email and social media is what generated the thousands of emails.

The city has now set up a Gmail account for emails from the petition to prevent disruptions to the city's email system. City staff will continue to monitor the Gmail account.

City officials say at no time during the incident was the city's email system compromised, nor were any email accounts, network accounts or any information residing on the city network compromised.

According to the petition website, was set up by Heenan's roommates. 

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