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County gang prevention unit working to stop retaliation crimes

As Madison police still search for answers after three gang related weekend shootings, MPD's Dane County partners are working in tandem to prevent revenge crimes.

The supervisor of the three dedicated gang intervention team, or GRIT members, working under the county's Human Service's Neighborhood Intervention Program, said his team has been urgently working since the weekend shootings to stop a retaliation.

"Boots on the ground. Getting out there. Talking to kids. Working through issues they may have," Juvenile Justice Services Manager Andrea Johnson said. "We've helped do mediations in the past with law enforcement. We’ve gone to school and talked with kids. We’ve talked to them and their parents. Anything we can do to try and prevent future incidents."

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Mayoral candidates to debate on WISC-TV

Mayoral candidates Paul Soglin and Scott Resnick will appear together in a debate on WISC-TV on March 24.

The debate is one of numerous debates the candidates will appear in leading up to the spring election on April 7. This is the only debate that will be televised.

The debate will be hosted in the WISC-TV studios at 7 p.m. Eric Franke will moderate.

"This will be another good opportunity for voters to evaluate the judgment both candidates have used in tackling tough issues and who has what it takes to move the city forward," Soglin said.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to talk directly to the voters and present them with a clear choice on how to move Madison forward and create a more prosperous and more equitable city,” Resnick said.

"NCIS" will be preempted and will air after the "Late Late Show with James Corden" at 12:38 a.m. "Up To The Minute" will be joined in progress.

Teen drags detective clinging to car, police say

A detective was dragged half a block by a teen driving on an east Madison roadway Tuesday, police said.

Madison police said officers had been in a foot chase with 17-year-old Gairitt G. Schad, of Madison, when Schad jumped in the car and drove off on Brandie Road at about 12:40 p.m.

Police were looking to arrest Schad on suspicion of an earlier eluding offense, the report said. An uncased shotgun was in the backseat of the car.

The detective had reached in through a window and a partially open door trying to remove the ignition key, according to the report. Fresh snow helped the officer skim over the top of the roadway as Schad reportedly kept driving. The detective was dragged half a block and nearly connected with a parked car, but was unharmed as Schad ran the vehicle into a snow bank.

Other police officers were quickly on the scene and took Schad into custody.

Resnick attacks Soglin's gang violence record

As quickly as questions during Monday’s Madison mayoral forum turned to the city's growing gang violence, Alderman Scott Resnick was taking issue with Mayor Paul Soglin's gang record.

"We're not doing enough," Resnick said. "If your programs were successful, we'd be seeing success."

Resnick said if the anti-gang programs Soglin touted--such as more at-risk youth contact, job creation and prisoner re-entry programs--were working, Madison would not be seeing the current amount of violence.

"And we do this through community effort. This is going to be a problem the city of Madison is going to continue to face if we're not working together," Resnick said.

To the alderman, a key to immediately answering gang related issues is to start a taskforce to address problems before and as they happen.

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Madison officer says gang violence 'happening in our front yards'

A local leader said there's a need for alternatives to keep Madison area teens out of gangs.

Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, has seen the gang violence that the Madison area has experienced in recent months. He also sees the need for the community to provide teens with an alternative to gangs.

"We have some challenges here in Madison," Johnson said.

He believes that programs like the Boys and Girls Club provide the support teens need and a positive activity where they can focus their energy. What he would like to see is for more opportunities to exist in the community to provide teens with positive after-school activities and support.

"In the city of Louisville, Kentucky, the mayor there said they are going to provide 2,500 paid internships for kids," Johnson said. "Why can’t we do that here in Madison, Wisconsin?"

Pair robs woman who gave them a ride, police say

A woman who offered a casual acquaintance a ride Friday night because of the cold was robbed, police said.

Madison police said a woman was driving on Commercial Avenue and Pulley Drive on Madison's east side when she saw someone she knew walking with another person.

According to the report, the woman asked the man and woman if they'd like a ride to get out of the cold at about 8:20 p.m. The two got in the car, and after a short distance, the man threatened to shoot the driver.

The woman pulled over and the robbers fled with the driver's wallet. Police said no injuries were reported and no weapon was seen.

Zoo announces new polar bears

The Henry Vilas Zoo announced the addition of two polar bears to the new "Arctic Passage" exhibit set to open this summer.

Suka and Sakari are 2 1/2-year-old twins that will come from the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Once they arrive, the Henry Vilas Zoo will house two of only 60 polar bears in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos in North America.

A release from the zoo states that the new exhibit is designed to meet or exceed "the most stringent standards in bear care."

The Arctic Passage exhibit is on schedule to open Memorial Day weekend.  About $270,000 is still needed to pay for the project.