Chief of Police Koval retires

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval announced his immediate retirement on Sunday, Sept. 29 in a blog post. Koval had been a police officer nearly all his professional life and Madison’s top cop since 2014. Assistant Chief Vic Wahl was named interim chief of police throughout the hiring process, which will be conducted by the Police and Fire Commission.

In the post, Koval praised his team and his staff, lamented that he was never able to fully staff the department with an additional 31 police officers, and also warned those coming up behind him of the realities of the “new normal” of policing.

“My biggest fear in leaving my MPD Family as Chief? Who will protect the guardians [officers] when they are hurting, when they are tried in the court(s) of public opinion/Facebook/and the media without fundamental fairness and respect for due process,” he questions.

The immediacy of the announcement surprised many, but in a Wisconsin State Journal article, Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, suggested that actions taken by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway provided “subtle pressure” for Koval to retire.

The mayor thanked Koval for his service and promised to involve the community in helping to determine the kind of chief the city wants.