Madison
49° F
Overcast
Overcast
Advertisement

Madison city email system overwhelmed by Heimsness petition

Published On: Feb 05 2013 09:04:19 AM CST   Updated On: Feb 05 2013 10:40:48 PM CST
Officer Stephen Heimsness

Officer Stephen Heimsness

MADISON, Wis. -

About 250,000 emails generated by an online petition overwhelmed the city of Madison’s email system this week.

The emails were generated by a petition on the website change.org calling for Madison Police Chief Noble Wray to keep Officer Stephen Heimsness off the streets.

Heimsness was cleared of any wrongdoing after he shot and killed Paul Heenan, who was unarmed, on Madison's near east side on Nov. 9 while responding to what he thought was a burglary in progress.

It was later determined that Heenan, who was drunk, had entered a neighbor's house by mistake, prompting a 911 call of a reported break-in.

Heimsness remains on leave while three separate investigations of his conduct are under way.

The petition at change.org was set up by Heenan’s roommates, according to the website.

"The petition has proven to be very popular. The change.org/paulie address has been visited by almost 90,000 people so far, and people have been leaving lots of thoughtful comments," said Nate Royko Maurer, one of Heenan's roommates.

The large number of messages, from all over the country, delayed or blocked the city from getting other emails.

City officials said emails from the petition are now being sent to a separate account to prevent disruptions to the city's email system. They said the ability for change.org users to share via email and social media is what generated the thousands of emails. For a time the city had to block emails coming from the petition site.

In a statement released by the mayor's IT staff, emails from the petition will now be sent to a separate account, which concerns petition organizers.

"We don't want to misrepresent to the people who have signed on that their voices are being heard when in fact they're being dumped into some junk mail account," Royko Maurer said. "These are petition signers who voluntarily left their thoughts, and the thoughts were forwarded on to email addresses for the mayor, for the chief of police, for members of the Police and Fire Commission."

Petition organizers said their intent was never to shut down the city's email system. They said they just hope to start a dialogue with the city to ensure the petition's comments make it to right people.

Organizers have plans to deliver a physical copy of the petition to the city in the near future.

Advertisement
  • Isreali President Shimon Peres

    Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

    Notable deaths of 2016

    Here's a look at some of the celebrities we've lost so far in 2016.

  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

  • Passport

    RandyHarris/iStock

    Mistakes people make when moving abroad

    Moving abroad? Realtor.com has put together a list of six mistakes people make when they're moving abroad. Click through, so you don't make the same mistakes during your move.

Advertisement