Madison Police SWAT team deployed to 900 block Tuesday afternoon
Madison Police executed a search warrant in the 900 block of Jenifer Street yesterday (June 16) just after 12:30 p.m. as part of a investigation into drug activity. Traffic was blocked off for the entire block while members of the Madison Police SWAT team moved in.
Neighbors reported seeing a large military-style vehicle painted in black with Madison Police markings park in front of the home and a public address speaker on the vehicle told the occupants that they [the police] were aware they had guns. Kendall G. Ragland, 36, was arrested during a high risk traffic stop on south Carroll Street and charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor in relation to the investigation.
Madison Police Department says that the raid was the result of a seven month investigation which recovered more than 32 grams of heroin and more than 14 grams of cocaine as well as other evidence but so far there is no information that weapons were found; however the investigation is ongoing.
“There is one thing where you are given information that you have them and then when you’re actually inside it doesn’t mean you are going to find them.” Madison Police Lieutenant Amy Schwartz said. “But that information was probably true if that’s what [the officers] said going in.”
The home had been known to police for drug activity due to repeated complaints from neighbors.
One resident said that it was obvious that groups of unrelated people would appear in front of the house, send a text and then be allowed in. Not long after, the same people would leave but in separate directions.
“We received it from various venues from neighborhood meetings to our Coffee With Cops program that we hold on Willy Street on Wednesday mornings. It came from several different sources.” Schwartz said.
The two unit property is owned by Keith Hanson whose family has owned the home since the 1980s. Neighbors WSB talked with say that the tenants, presumably in the lower unit, presumably Ragland, were eight months behind on rent and they had been tough to evict.The neighbors also said that the upstairs tenants had moved out because chemical smells from the lower unit were too difficult to take.
While early information from witnesses suggested a second arrest was made later in the day, Schwartz says Ragland is the only person in custody related to the case. She added that the investigation continues and other arrests could possibly occur. Ragland has a long and serious criminal background including multiple conviction for possession, battery, resisting arrest and one pending case for battery.
“We are happy that we were able to address this problem and hopefully it put some of those neighbors that live in that block at ease.” Scharwtz said.
Caffeinated Politics Blogger and Spaight Street resident Gregory Humphrey reported being greeted by four Madison Police officers while mowing his lawn. He wrote in an email to the Marquette Neighborhood list serv that after the military-style truck arrived a van followed and unloaded a group of officers which traversed Humphrey’s property before taking 909 Jenifer from the rear.
“I had conversations after the event with three officers and two of them laid out the need for the raid and also thanked the neighbors who have called and worked to make sure this community does not have such activity taking place. The second person they are seeking has a parole violation,” Humphrey wrote.
Military surplus equipment draws attention
The raid was not related to two other drug-related police operations that occurred across town today. One was in the 2400 block of Atwood Avenue and a traffic stop on the West Side.
The large military-style truck that appeared in front of the target home was apparently Army surplus and was acquired by the Madison Police for free or a very small sum because it was destined for scrap according to what an officer told a neighbor across the street.
In the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri almost a year ago, renewed focus has been placed on surplus military equipment that has been acquired by civilian police forces.
The Madison Police vehicle seen today was impressive to residents but also quite imposing.
A quick tour of the Madison Police website does not highlight the vehicle but rather shows a group picture of all the officers involved in SWAT. No doubt it’s appearance today is likely to spark further discussion about Madison Police tactics, training, and equipment.
Update: [1:15 p.m.] Information from Madison police, suspect name.