January 21 2015

– Looking to better investigate the city’s most significant crimes, as well as others that have a big impact on victims even if they don’t grab headlines, the Madison Police Department on Tuesday announced the start of two detective units specializing in violent crimes and burglaries.

The Violent Crimes Unit’s six detectives will investigate homicides, gun-related incidents, armed robberies and substantial batteries, among other crimes.

Police Chief Mike Koval said the Burglary Crimes Unit, with five detectives, will allow the department to better focus on a property crime that can have a big psychological impact on victims.

While burglaries might not seem like the most significant offenses, Koval said they violate victims’ sense of safety and security just as much as any violent crime.

Koval called his department’s clearance rate for burglaries “pedestrian” and said he wanted to see it improve. The new unit will make solving burglaries a bigger priority, he said.

“Intent can only go so far. I demand results,” Koval said.

The new units, made up of detectives from around the city, will start work in February out of the department’s Downtown location.

Each group of detectives will also have help from one of the department’s crime analysts, a detective sergeant, other MPD units such as those dealing with drugs and repeat offenders, and federal authorities, police said.

Lt. John Patterson, who will oversee both units, said they will centralize the department’s response to those crimes.

Rather than having detectives from MPD’s five police districts respond separately to cases across the city that could be related, the same investigators and analysts will work together under the new model.

“This is really an opportunity for us to all … join hands, so to speak, and start sharing among ourselves more effectively,” Patterson said.

The units will also allow detectives to hone their skills, Koval said, making them specialists at investigating those specific types of crimes rather than dealing with the wide range of cases they normally take on.

Koval described the program as a pilot on Tuesday, saying the department would keep track of how effective it is and make changes as needed.

Because the department pulled detectives for the unit from district staffs, Koval said in a blog post that he could wind up asking the city for funding in the next budget to hire new detectives who would fill their former roles.

“Should our results prove promising, I will be back at the budgetary table to request expansion of our reach and to better supplement our detectives who are already bearing an ever-increasing case load,” Koval said.

A press conference announcing the units on Tuesday was the second of three the department is holding this month. Koval formally introduced a new neighborhood-based program last week, and will debut a group of officers focused on mental health issues next week.

– Nico Savidge

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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