MPD to work with U.S. marshals’ task force

By MEGAN PHILLIPS,

The city of Madison has formed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force.

“This is the first time the city has had this agreement with the task force… The U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force has been a task force in existence for years,” Madison Police Chief Gene Waldrop said. “They just happened to have some openings and approached us about having a new person on the force.”

The U.S. Marshals have a long history of providing assistance and expertise to other law enforcement agencies in support of fugitive investigations, their Web site states.

The purpose of regional fugitive task forces is to combine the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend the most dangerous fugitives and assist in high profile investigations.

“They’re dealing with some of your most violent people in the metro area that other agencies need assistance in apprehending,” Waldrop said. “There are just multiple types of operations, where we can benefit from that knowledge and information. It’s a federal agency so the jurisdictional issues become moot, and we’re able to cross those jurisdictional lines…”

The U.S. Marshals Service currently leads 60 local fugitive task forces, the majority of which are fulltime efforts. However, additional forces are created on as-needed bases and in response to specific cases.

Funding for the task forces is often granted through initiatives such as the High Density Drug Trafficking Area, Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force and Project Safe Neighborhood task forces.

Only one of the 80-plus Madison officers will be assigned to the force, but Waldrop said the MOU will provide the city’s police department with multiple benefits.

“The benefit is having an officer with a task force that concerns matters or information that would affect the city of Madison or its citizens,” Waldrop said. “This puts us on the front end of the problem. So, this keeps it from being a problem before it comes to the city.”

The department has not assigned an officer to the task force yet, but the department will receive reimbursement for any overtime the assigned officer incurs while spending time on operations. The MOU also comes at no cost to the city.

“Municipalities, county sheriff departments and state agencies are all members of this task force. Being part of a multi-agency team is highly beneficial. Information can be brought back to help create a safer community. It’s a win-win situation.”

Waldrop said the MOU will be in effect as long as there are no issues with the agreement.

 

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