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Eric Parker returns to police force

Officer Eric Parker. CONTRIBUTED
Officer Eric Parker. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Officer Eric Parker has returned to work with Madison Police Department.

Major Jim Cooke, who also is serving as interim police chief, made the announcement on Sept. 6.

Parker returned from administrative leave on Sept. 6 and will be assigned to the department’s training unit until he completes required re-certifications. After his training is complete, Parker will receive his duty assignment.

“Chief Muncey was placed on administrative leave in April, and as Acting Chief, I assumed responsibility for the personnel issues surrounding Officer Parker,” Cooke said. “Since Officer Parker’s acquittal of all federal charges and the dismissal by the Attorney General of the misdemeanor charges against him, I have extensively reviewed all of the documentation regarding the case, and I have made the factual determination that Officer Parker’s actions in February 2015 did not amount to a policy violation.”

“This decision was based on the review of all departmental and court documentation,” Cooke said.

“I realize that some will question my decision. I cannot share the internal documentation that led me to this conclusion, but I strongly encourage you to read the Memorandum Opinion issued by Federal Judge Madeline H. Haikala after Officer Parker’s second federal trial, wherein she wrote, ‘[T]he evidence demonstrates that Officer Parker complied with MPD policy regarding preliminary investigations of suspicious individuals and MPD’s ‘Response to Resistance’ policy…Officer Parker made a split-second decision in a rapidly evolving situation rather than a premeditated decision to use violent force.’”

Cooke said “the opinion is an in-depth treatment of the law and its application to Officer Parker’s actions, and I believe it will offer clarity to those who currently do not understand the decision I have made.”

“It is important to underscore the fact that, despite rumors to the contrary, my decision was not influenced by any person or group. My decision is based solely on the facts of this situation and the application thereto of federal law, state law, and local policies and regulations,” Cooke said.

“I want to remind everyone that there remains pending a civil suit stemming from the events of last February. Therefore, the Madison Police Department will have no further comment until that case is concluded,” Cooke said.

“I assure the citizens of this community that there have been — and will continue to be — officers, dispatchers, support personnel, and command staff working 24/7/365 to keep Madison the safe city that it has been and still is. And as we continue to serve and protect, we must also move forward. It’s time,” Cooke said.

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