Madison Versus Memphis

Memphis is generally considered a pioneer among city police departments across the country for our method of dealing with mentally ill criminals. But one police department in Madison, Wisconsin rejects what they call “the Memphis Model.”

In 1987, Memphis police shot and killed a mentally ill man. The following year, the police department formed a partnership with advocates for the mentally ill to train certain officers to deal with those situations. Those officers became the Crisis Intervention Team or CIT.

Since then, departments across the country have been forming their own CIT teams, using the Memphis model as their guide. After a drug addict was stabbed by police in Madison a few months ago, concerned citizens began asking police to adopt a system similar to the one in Memphis.

Madison police chief Noble Wray publicly rejected our model. Wray says in Memphis, officers on the CIT team “need good judgment, maturity, and leadership skills” whereas in Madison, those qualities are required for all officers on the force. He dubbed this “the Madison Model.”

So what are you saying, Wray? That our cops aren’t as good as yours? Bring it on.

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