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An Open Letter to District of Columbia Residents and Leaders

Friday, July 25, 2003
Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Department

I recently signed a new contract with Mayor Williams to remain chief of the Metropolitan Police Department for another four years and nine months. Earlier this month, the DC Council approved the compensation portion of the contract. I am honored and humbled to have been your police chief for the past five years, and I am truly excited by the opportunity to continue serving you – and working alongside you – in the years to come.

I appreciate the strong support I have received from the Mayor, members of the Council, the community, and especially the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department. In the coming months and years, I pledge to do everything humanly possible to continue to earn the trust you have placed in me. I also appreciate and respect the opinions of those who have criticized my performance as police chief. I will work tirelessly to gain the confidence of my detractors as well.

The public debate over my new contract has, at times, been very personal and political. Still, we need to recognize just how far our police department and our city have come over the last five years. Working together in the spirit of community policing, we have made impressive strides in transforming the District of Columbia into a safer, more livable city. By shoring up the MPD’s infrastructure – including recruiting, training, technology and facilities – we are in a much stronger position today to address the challenges that lie ahead.

There is no dispute that we face are serious and complex problems: violence in our streets and homes, juvenile crime, prostitution and quality-of-life offenses, ex-offenders returning to the community, and the continuing plague of substance abuse, to name a few. I appreciate the enormity of these challenges and the sense of urgency we all share in meeting those challenges. I also understand the fear and frustration of many of our residents whose lives continue to be impacted by crime and violence. Most of all, I remain committed to working as hard as I can – and as creatively as I can – to tackle our problems head-on, just as we have done over the past five years.

Our success will not hinge on any one individual. Our success will be the result of a collective effort – a collective intolerance for crime and disorder in our communities, and a collective will to make positive and lasting change. It is time to put the politics of public safety aside. It is time for all of DC to come together in a renewed partnership against crime – a partnership built on trust, respect, hard work and hope. I will not rest until we have achieved our goals of safer and healthier neighborhoods in every quadrant of our great city. You have my pledge on that.

Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of Police