So You Think You’re Great Police Leader?

mpd emblem     Police Leaders: Now here’s your chance to see if you can lead a great police department further toward excellence — even into greatness!

     Citizens: If you know of such a police leader, please forward this information to him or her.




The Madison, Wisc. Board of Police and Fire Commissioners has published the following announcement:

The Police Department of the City of Madison, Wisconsin, is an organization with a long tradition of excellence in problem oriented and community policing. It is now searching for its next leader after the retirement of Chief Noble Wray, who led the department for nine years during his 30 years as a Madison police officer.

Madison is the state capital and home of the University of Wisconsin. Madison has a long standing tradition of honest and progressive government, a strong economy and high quality of life. The city and our police department face the realities and challenges that police are now commonly confronting in many communities, such as changes in demographics; big city problems in smaller communities; the high priority given to terrorism; limitations in police budgets; cutbacks in services by other agencies that inevitably make new demands on the police; increased charges of abuse and misuse of information and surveillance. We acknowledge that the always difficult job of policing in a democracy has become even more difficult.

The Madison Police Department is an educated, diverse, community-oriented team of men and women ready to continue its world-class reputation and be the benchmark of delivering quality police services which intensely protect the rights of all citizens under the rule of law. The Board of Police and Fire Commissioners expects the Department to respond with even more innovation and creativity to contemporary challenges and not to succumb to pressures to abandon the progress and accomplishments of the past several decades. The Board enthusiastically supports the Department’s intensified efforts to bring its principles and management style to new challenges.

Madison’s top police leader is expected to be roundly educated, with an intimate understanding of diversity, a focus on the community, and a track record of improving an existing organization; a staunch protector of the Constitution with deep, sensitive, and compassionate listening skills. The department’s leader must strongly model the desired behavior of a police officer in a democracy – must walk his or her talk.

Within this department’s ranks, a significant percent of officers have college degrees and advanced educations, over one-third of the department’s sworn officers are women, and the percent of people of color is reflective of the community. This is a great opportunity for a visionary leader with a passion for continuously developing and bringing democratic policing in America to its highest level.

An open Advisory Council of officers has been in existence for three decades to advise the chief and the employee association (union) president is a member of the chief’s management team. More specialized Citizen, Detective, and Leadership Advisory Councils also work with the chief. The chief of police is selected under state law by a board of five citizens appointed to staggered 5-year terms by the mayor of the city, providing effective tenure to the chief, who can be removed only for cause, not political whim. The Madison Board of Police and Fire Commissioners anticipates that the new chief will wish to serve at least seven years.

This is a unique opportunity for a man or woman who has not only a gift of leadership but a clear vision of how police are to operate in our society, especially when confronted with diverse community expectations, political protests in the city and on the campus, and controversy regarding the use of physical force.

This position anticipates a baccalaureate degree and three years of responsible and varied managerial experience in local law enforcement. Salary range is $109,671 – $148,056 annually.

If you seek the opportunity to lead this department you are invited to apply for the position of our City’s CHIEF OF POLICE. Contact the Madison Board of Police and Fire Commissioners.

Learn more about our City and Department at the official websites: and

 To receive an application packet, contact the Madison Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, c/o Scott N. Herrick, 16 North Carroll Street; Madison, WI 53703. Phone (608) 257-1369. If you have not previously provided a resume, you should include one with the Application Form. Applications must be received, in office, by 4:30 p.m. on January 10, 2014.


  1. Dear Chief Couper:

    This comment is to let you know I just finished reading your book, Arrested Development today. What a great and timely read for me as I seriously consider perhaps trying to take my career to another level and a new challenge as a police chief. My eyes actually welled up while reading your epilogue. That has never happened to me as a result of reading a book. I believe your book will help me make a profound and positive difference in my leadership heretofore in my career as a police chief. Thank you for writing this book. I wish I had read it years ago.


    1. Herb, thanks so much for the feedback. I, too, happen to think the book is important and would like police leaders like you to read it and give me some feedback. Will my dream for police one day be a reality?


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