On November 20, 2006, Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey issued the following statement concerning his tenure as chief of the Metropolitan Police Department and the appointment of the MPDC's next chief, Cathy Lanier:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Just over eight-and-one-half years ago, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to lead the DC Metropolitan Police Department. On January 2, 2007, I will be stepping down as chief of police. When I do, I will be leaving my successor a city that is safer and stronger, and a police department that is professional, effective and well equipped to confront the dual challenges of neighborhood crime and terrorism.
I am extremely proud of the MPD’s accomplishments during my tenure as chief. Over the past eight years, the District’s crime rate has been cut nearly in half, with reductions in every major crime category and in every police district. This year, homicides will fall below 200 for the third consecutive year, the first time that has happened since the mid-1980s. In fact, overall crime in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>District of Columbia is lower today than it has been in four decades.
The Metropolitan Police Department of 2006 is better equipped, better trained and more technologically current than it has ever been. We have raised our hiring standards, expanded the size of our force and put more officers where they are needed the most: out on the streets of our neighborhoods. Our strategy of community policing continues to expand and become more innovative. And the MPD’s response to the ongoing threat of terrorism is more robust and better coordinated.
Our success in driving down crime and making DC neighborhoods safer has been the result of many factors – but mostly the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department and our partners in the community. Over the years, I have asked a lot of the sworn and civilian members of our Department – whether it has been working extra hours during crime emergencies or learning new techniques to help us combat the threat of terrorism. And in each and every instance, the men and women of the MPD have risen to the challenge and have helped to make our city safer and our Department stronger. This year offers just another example of their diligence and success: arrests, firearm recoveries, and curfew and truancy citations are all up, while the city’s crime rate continues to fall.
I can honestly say, from 35-plus years of experience, that there is not a better, more dedicated group of law enforcement professionals in the United States than the Metropolitan Police Department. The MPD is second to none when it comes to policing, and I am very proud to have led this Department during such a period of such amazing growth and challenge.
In addition to having top-flight police officers, the District of Columbia is blessed with some of the most active, engaged and supportive communities in the nation. Our residents, as well as our neighborhood and business leaders, have thoroughly embraced the philosophy of community policing, and they have helped to turn that philosophy into an effective crime-fighting strategy for our city. I am deeply grateful for the love and support the community has shown me personally, as well as our Department as a whole. And I encourage even more community members to get involved in Neighborhood Watch, citizen patrols, the Senior Citizen Police Academy and other community policing programs that are making a difference.
I want to thank Mayor Williams for his steadfast support of our Department over the years. The Mayor keenly understands the important role that public safety plays in supporting the economic, social and cultural renaissance of our city. Over the years, he has provided the Metropolitan Police Department with the resources, the leadership and the trust we have needed to get the job done.
I wish Cathy Lanier great success as the chief of this great department. I have had the pleasure to work with Cathy, to promote her to increasingly challenging positions within our organization, and to watch her grow and develop as a poised and thoughtful law enforcement leader. Cathy is well prepared to tackle the challenges of leading the Metropolitan Police Department in the 21st Century, and I pledge my full cooperation and the full resources of the MPD to ensure a smooth and effective transition.
Policing always has been one of America’s most challenging professions. With the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the challenges facing American police have become even more difficult and more complex. And nowhere has this change been more obvious and more important than right here in our Nation’s Capital.
To have led the Metropolitan Police Department during this unique period in our history has been a real honor for me. For the past eight-and-a-half years, I have given this Department and this city everything I have, in trying to make the District of Columbia a better and safer place in which to live, to visit and to do business. And while there is certainly a lot of work yet to be done, I will be forever proud of what our Department has accomplished, and deeply honored to have served this great city.