Monday, September 24, 2007

First impressions of Madison

This morning, I am in Madison, WI courtesy of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, which paid my way to the 2007 POP Conference in exchange for two presentations. This is my first trip to Madison, a city that in many respects resembles Lincoln on paper: State Capital, home of the University, population pretty close. Madison is actually a little smaller than Lincoln--around 221,000 compared to our 242,000, but Dane County is quite a bit more populous than Lancaster, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's 41,466 students is nearly 20,000 more than UNL.

The downtown area is on an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. The conference is in the lake front Monona Terrace Conference Center, where we watched a wedding taking place on the roof-top last night. Tonja and I thought we were the only people to be married on a Sunday. The romantic setter demanded a nice dinner, but there was not a restaurant in sight along the water front. I was surprised that the downtown area doesn't seem to have a collection of lake-front eateries. It seems to be an ideal location for an outdoor patio, and the weather was perfect. Maybe we just haven't found them.

State Street, which runs the half mile from the Capitol to the campus, is a pedestrian-only stretch of bars, restaurants, and shops. The businesses are similar to those spread along 11th-14th, O to R, but with the Haymarket added in. The result is a wider mix of ages and activities--at least on Sunday night. I'm curious what it looks like on Saturday at around 2:00 AM.

The State Capitol building is in the traditional style similar to the United States Capitol. It benefits from a perch on a hill commanding the isthmus. But compared to Nebraska's unique tower, it's architecture is rather typical. At the Southwest corner, though, I found the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial. It is a crying shame that Nebraska's Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is not in the shadow of the Nebraska State Capitol, on Centennial Mall.

Some rocket surgeon who commented on my blog last week (it's comment number 3) suggested that our downtown officers spend their time scraping gum from the sidewalks. Madison has a serious gum problem of it's own. Must have something to do with college students.


Anonymous said...

Chief, you have certainly ventured into the Lion's Den (or Badger Den???)

For an enjoyable meal any time, try one of the restaurants in the Wisconsin Union. I heartily recommend Der Rathskeller,
but you might find that Madison has something unthinkable happening:

Alcohol, right in the middle of campus, in the Student Union! How is it possible that the sky hasn't fallen and the roof hasn't fallen in???

Tom Casady said...

Okay, the Rathskeller is an interesting and impressive corner of the student union, opened in 1928. But the food was basic University cafeteria, and nobody was around.

Nothing wrong with a pub on campus,as long as the drinkers are of age. I chatted with three UW-Madison police officers at length today. Same, same, same. Probably a little better relationship with LPD in Lincoln than with MPD in Madison.

Angelic Brewing Company, not a brewpub, as the name implies, had a great staff last night who really knew their local brews and how to serve their customers. Thumbs up for casual dining.

Anonymous said...

I predict the usual suspect berating you for being in Madison, instead of being in Lincoln with a putty knife, furiously scraping away at this deadly gum problem.

I visit that CPoP site from time to time, in order to read up on this and that. I've never seen a specific "guide" on the CPoP site detailing Home Invasion Robberies, maybe you could prompt them to create one.

I understand that those actually go unreported sometimes, because some home invasions are done by people wanting illegal drugs, drug cash, and other contraband, and those criminalistic residents are loath to involve the police. I was think more of home invasions at "normal" homes, the kind that would almost alwas be reported.

Madison seems to be fairly similar to Lincoln as far as most major aspects of population demographics, as well as rates of murder and business robbery, but they do have a somewhat higher rate of auto theft there, perhaps due to more chop shops or something like that.