Former Madison Police Captain Cheri Maples says the exoneration of the officer involved in the shooting death of musician Paul Heenan shows the need for a change in police protocols.
"Since the police department chose to exonerate him, then I think we need to look at the training standard, period, and change it," says Maples, who was captain of personnel and training when she retired from the Madison Police Department in 2005 after 21 years on the force. Maples would also like to see a change in the protocol that led to Stephen Heimsness being cleared of any wrongdoing.
Maples, now a dharma teacher, will speak to community members at a forum Monday on the November 9 shooting incident. The talk will take place at Bethany Evangelical Free Church at 7 p.m. A public discussion last week at the church brought together community members and representatives of the Madison Police Department and Dane County District Attorney's Office.
Maples, a co-founder of the Center of Mindfulness and Justice, gives public talks and consults with criminal justice professionals. She is a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
"What I'm hoping is that it can be another step toward building bridges between the community and the police department," Maples says. "I'm hoping that that will be Paulie Heenan's legacy -- some real change and cooperation between the police department and the community that it serves."
Members of the community calling for an external investigation received welcome news Thursday with the announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice would review the case.
There have also been calls for Heimsness to be dismissed from the police department. Police Chief Noble Wray said Tuesday that Heimsness would return to work eventually but would not patrol the South Baldwin Street area.