Police union asks Mayor Soglin for help with flawed MPD culture - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Police union asks Mayor Soglin for help with flawed MPD culture

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison's police union is seeking help from the city to improve conditions at the Madison Police Department.

The Madison Professional Police Officers Association (MPPOA) sent a letter Tuesday to Mayor Paul Soglin, asking him to lead a collaborative effort with Police Chief Noble Wray to address concerns that have come to light over the culture and working conditions for MPD officers.

MPPOA president Dan Frei says the union is working to protect the interests of its members and promote public safety.

"The MPPOA has a duty to advocate for fair treatment, effective work conditions and the open communication between its members and the department's administration," Frei writes in a statement released with his letter to Soglin. 

Frei tells 27 News he acknowledges the MPPOA is responsible for the negative culture pervasive within the department, but also points out officers and MPD and city leaders also share in the responsibility.

Frei says Wray has reached out to begin a discussion with the union leaders about how to tackle the problem. Frei plans to combine forces with Mayor Soglin to address the issues.

Last month, Chief Wray filed a complaint with the Police and Fire Commission, reporting Officer Stephen Heimsness violated department policy repeatedly by sending inappropriate messages from his squad car laptop. Since then, other officers were also investigated for inappropriate conduct involving the MPD computer system.

Frei is asking Mayor Soglin to facilitate the effort to fix the broken work environment at MPD.

"We are confident that Mayor Soglin's leadership will allow the MPD to successfully identify and implement a variety of needed improvements and reforms," says Frei. 

On Monday, Soglin addressed the need to develop a new tone and demeanor to better serve the public and ensure the department is meeting the highest standards.

Soglin says he will work with Wray to lead training to promote dignity and respect in the city workplace.

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