Posts tagged “Madison Police Department

Murder on Madison’s Doty Street: Do the Police Have Something to Hide?

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.

Is the Madison Police Chief’s Departure a Gentle Push Out the Door?

Within the next few days, the police chief of Wisconsin’s second largest law enforcement agency, the City of Madison Police Department, is set to retire.  Noble Wray, a 52-year-old empty nester, is exiting his post to spend more time with his family.

While Wray might be getting the glad-hand treatment from the liberal press, there are some who believe that he was gently pushed out the door by Madison’s far-left, on-again, off-again mayor, Paul Soglin, over the shooting death of a local musician at the hands of Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness.  On November 9, 2012, a highly intoxicated Paul Heenan attempted to enter the home of a couple, who contacted the police.  When Heimsness arrived, Heenan, it is alleged, reached for the officer’s firearm and, as one would expect, bad things happened.

The shooting death of Heenan was investigated thoroughly. The case was reviewed by the Dane County DA’s office and the Professional Performance Division of the Madison Police Department.  Both agencies later cleared Officer Heimsness.  However, with Madison being Madison, residents voiced outraged that an officer would dare shoot a man who simply reached for his firearm, even though common sense dictates that the purpose of disarming an officer is to retrieve and possibly turn the firearm against the officer.  Each year, about 15 percent of the police officers in the U.S. shot-and-killed in the line of duty die as a result of their firearms being turned against them.

Ironically, while it is the justifiably-ruled shooting death of Heenan that led, at least in a de facto sense, to Wray’s gentle exit, the homicides of Madison co-eds Brittany Zimmermann and Kelly Nolan remain unsolved.  The Madison media, for the most part, has given Wray a free pass on these two troubling slayings, even though the press is keenly aware that two killers remain at-large to offend again.  I profiled some of the problems with the Zimmermann investigation in my latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II.

From my conversations with those in the know, Wray’s record as chief is a mixed bag.  He riled the normally docile Madison Professional Police Officers Association — the union representing rank-and-file Madison officers, sergeants, and detectives — by ordering an internal investigation of Heimsness’ tenure as an officer after the shooting of Heenan, where it was learned that Heimsness sent some troubling messages over his squad car’s mobile data computer (MDC).  Granted, the messages were, to say the least, unprofessional, but they did not merit the officer’s termination, as Wray requested.  Looking at this investigation from the lens of my 30-plus years of policing experience, I believe Wray was trying to placate the liberal establishment in Madison by forcing Heimsness out the door for disingenuous reasons.

Moreover, while Wray asked the residents of Madison to trust him, he used his position as chief of police to advocate for the lenient treatment of minority felony offenders, citing a racial bias in the criminal justice system.  My position on this matter is simple: if an individual — regardless of his or her race — does not wish to spend time in prison, do not commit serious crimes and then whine like a stuck pig while incarcerated.

Others privately complain that Wray’s command staff is top heavy, with two captains having similar titles and basically the same job responsibilities as the Madison Police Department’s two assistant police chiefs.  Eliminating these positions would free-up about $300,000, enough to hire six additional police officers.  With the Madison media in the tank for Wray, reporters and newspaper editors have never dared ask, for a fear of reduced access, why a police department that serves a city of 215,000 people needs two assistant chiefs of the police.

As far as the selection process for the next City of Madison police chief, the Spingola Files has checked with sources and believes that the Madison Fire and Police Commission will expand the search to include external candidates. The Madison Police Department’s soon-to-be interim police chief, Randy Gaber, is considered too much of a good old boy insider to ascend to the top job, even though, barring some type of political controversy, his hands are steady enough to guide the department through the transition.  The most qualified internal candidate, if he chooses to apply, is Captain Vic Wahl.  If outside candidates can opt-in, Commander Michele Donegan, of the Nashville Police Department, and Assistant Police Chief Jessica Robledo, of the Austin PD, might apply.

If these conventional choices do not pan out, under Soglin’s influence, the Madison Fire and Police Commission might shake things up by appointing a complete, low level outsider, such as Madison’s flower child former police chief, David Couper, whose only qualifications were being a liberal and having served as a detective in small town Minnesota.


On Tuesday evening, I had the privilege to present the “Psychology of Homicide” program at the Racine Public Library.  Afterwards, CBS 58 profiled the event and other crime related issues on its 10 PM newscast.   To view the segment please visit the link below:


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

Old School Sleuths Weigh-In on Most Current Crop of Detectives

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to in December 2012.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012 


[1] “Murder Mysteries: National Statistics.” 31 March 2012.

[2] “Murder Mysteries: National Statistics.” 31 March 2012.

[3] Hogue, B. “DNA Collection Bill Proposed.” March 2, 2012.  31 March 2012.