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Public Oversight Hearing on the Performance of the Metropolitan Police Department in 2006

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Public Oversight Hearing on the Performance of the Metropolitan Police Department in 2006

Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

Cathy L. Lanier
Acting Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Department

The following statement was presented by Acting Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier to the District of Columbia Council, Committee on the Judiciary, Honorable Phil Mendelson, Chair, on March 8, 2007, at the John A. Wilson Building, Room 412, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

Chairperson Mendelson, members of the Committee, staff and guests. I am pleased to have this opportunity to discuss with you the Metropolitan Police Department’s performance.  I will provide you with updates on matters that occurred before I took over in January, as well as share with you some of the department’s plans for the future – including some initiatives that I have already put in place.  The full text of my statement is posted on the Department’s website: www.mpdc.dc.gov.

First, I want to say that I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the Metropolitan Police Department.  It is a great honor to be appointed as Acting Chief of Police, and a significant responsibility that I take very seriously.  I believe that we have an exceptional police department filled with talented people, and I am excited about the prospect of working with them – and everyone in our city -- as we collaborate to keep the District safe.

The Metropolitan Police Department had an eventful year in 2006, as it continued to make progress towards the goal of maintaining a safe city and fostering a high quality of life.  The city experienced continued development and vitality, and many communities enjoyed stability or a resurgence.   Nonetheless, significant obstacles persisted, and several communities faced considerable public safety challenges.  The department’s resolve to address these challenges remained strong.

The overall number of crimes committed in the District of Columbia increased in 2006 over the previous year.  The rise followed decreases in the previous two years, which reflected the lowest rates in over two decades.  Last year, MPD took sizeable steps to address rising crime, as Chief Ramsey declared a crime emergency and rallied resources to stem the increases. The department met with some success, as the City recorded the lowest number of homicides in 20 years, and saw the reduction of the number of stolen autos.  Arrests increased – both for adults and juveniles, and the number of firearms seized also rose.  Clearance rates also improved for homicides.  MPD was able to reduce the number of officers unavailable for duty, and strengthen recruiting activities.  We continued to focus on homeland security issues, and were honored to help coordinate two State funerals.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Chief Charles Ramsey, who left the MPD in December 2006, after serving the city more than eight years– the longest serving Chief under home rule.  MPD enjoyed several successes under Chief Ramsey, and I intend to build on those achievements – and create new ones -- as I bring new focus and vigor to MPD.

Finally, the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department deserve gratitude for their sacrifices over the past year, as they worked diligently and intensely to keep the city safe.  I greatly appreciate their devotion and commitment to service.

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Across the nation, violent crime has been rising.  While there are a number of activities and outcomes that can be considered in measuring police performance, one factor is the number of crimes committed.  According to preliminary 2006 figures reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the number of Part I crimes committed in the District of Columbia increased 4.6% compared to 2005.  Increases occurred in every category except homicides and stolen autos.  There was a double-digit decrease in homicides (-14%) to 169, the lowest number in 20 years.  Incidents of stolen autos declined 5.5%.

Increases were reported in robberies (2.9%), thefts (6.8%), burglaries (7.1%), aggravated assaults (15.5%), and forcible rapes (17.6%).  These increases come on the heels significant decreases in 2004 and 2005, which reflected the lowest per-capita crime rates in more than 30 years.  As noted earlier, with the exception of the city’s drop in homicides, increases in crime reflect national trends.  For 2005, U.S. Justice Department data for homicide, robbery, and aggravated assault reflect the highest percentage increases in 14 years -- a trend that preliminary statistics indicate continued into 2006 and now into 2007.  We are trying hard to buck that trend.  So far this year, the District has seen a reduction in most major crime categories.  According to preliminary DC Code data for January and February 2007, crime has decreased or maintained steady in all areas except theft and thefts from vehicles.  While the District has been responsive to this encroaching national problem, it will remain a significant challenge to combat crime in the future.

These 2006 Part I crime figures for DC are different than previously reported figures based on DC Code Index crimes, as they are every year.  The difference stems not just from different crime definitions under the two systems, but also from outdated technology and processes in the MPD unit that is responsible for reconciling data.  I will discuss the steps I am taking to improve this process later in this testimony. 

MPD’s crime fighting initiatives remained strong in 2006.  The department continued throughout the year to fight crime and establish partnerships that helped to strengthen communities.  The department persisted in identifying and arresting dangerous offenders, confiscating illegal guns, and addressing public safety concerns. More than 2,656 firearms were taken from the streets in 2006, an increase of 13%.   For the third year in a row, officers arrested more than 50,000 criminal suspects.  Last year’s total of more than 54,000 arrests represented a 5% increase over the previous year.  They comprised almost 51,000 adults and nearly 3,300 juveniles.  Adult arrests increased 4.7%, and juvenile arrests increased more than 12%. 

Sadly, the trend of increasing juvenile involvement in violent crime continued in 2006. From 2004 to 2006, juvenile arrests for robbery and for weapons charges increased almost 40%.  In 2001, 1 out of every 7 robbery arrests was a juvenile.  In 2006, almost 2 out of every 5 robbery arrests was a juvenile.  The number of juvenile homicide victims increased to 17 in 2006, compared to 12 in 2005.  Thirteen of the juvenile homicide victims died as the result of gun shot wounds. Three were the victims of child abuse. Conversely, the number of juveniles arrested for murder in 2006 increased to 6, compared to two in 2005. 

The department has continued efforts to address juvenile crime through prevention, intervention, and enforcement.  The number of juveniles apprehended on curfew violations rose to 6,261, compared to 3,271 in 2005.  Much of this increase occurred because of the longer curfew hours established by Mayor Williams during the 2006 crime emergency. Officers also addressed juvenile issues during the day, relocating 3,068 truants from the streets to DCPS truant facilities. MPD’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention provided direct intervention and mediation services, and partnered with other community-based organizations in carrying out a range of programs.  MPD also engaged in the 40 Days of Increased Peace initiative, a summer- long effort to provide young people with activities when school is not in session.  MPD — and in particular the Chief’s Advisory Council — focused new energy and resources on Camp Brown, a summer camp for youth operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. With the CAC’s help in remodeling several cabins, Camp Brown served hundreds of potentially at-risk youngsters. In addition, each regional command has a Youth Advisory Council consisting of junior and senior high school students in the area. MPD also stepped up efforts to protect young people from the dangers of sexual predators — both traditional and cyber. Through its Sex Offender Registry, the Department helped to alert parents and other community members about the presence of registered sex offenders in DC neighborhoods. In addition, MPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program is working to identify and apprehend sexual predators who target minors in chat rooms and other online venues. ICAC members have arrested adults who traveled to DC to meet persons they thought were minor children.

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There have been several traffic fatalities in the news recently.  While any traffic fatality is one too many, the record indicates that DC's traffic safety efforts--including MPD's traffic safety strategy—has had a positive impact.  With 43 traffic fatalities last year, DC had fewer traffic fatalities than in any year since at least 1995.  There have been fewer than 50 fatalities in each of the last 3 years, as compared to 1995-2003, when there were an average of 60 traffic fatalities each year.  I have reminded our officers to aggressively enforce both vehicular and pedestrian violations throughout the city, to include all public conveyance vehicles such as buses, limousines, and taxis.  In 2006, police in DC issued tickets for almost a quarter of a million traffic-related violations.  This includes moving and parking violations, as well as bicycle and pedestrian violations.  This figure excludes automated traffic enforcement tickets from red light and speed cameras.

MPD recognizes the importance of technology that will help the department address policing challenges today, as well as prepare for a future that will rely even more heavily on new technology.  In 2006, the DC Council authorized the Department to utilize CCTV as a crime-fighting tool in DC neighborhoods. The MPD quickly installed 48 cameras in high-crime areas in all seven police districts.  Since they have been installed, 54 images have been recorded that have possible evidentiary value and one crime in progress was caught on camera.  The department is also using another innovative technology to help fight neighborhood crime and bring armed offenders to justice. ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system that can instantly identify the sound of gunfire, pinpoint the location where the shot came from and alert police. With support from the FBI, the system has been installed in the 7th Police District, and installation is underway in the Fifth and Sixth Districts. They will also be installed in other Districts in the future.  Since August, the system has been credited with identifying 31 shooting incidents, including those involving 3 arrests and the recovery of 8 firearms.  MPD is exploring expanding the use of the system to other parts of the District.

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In 2006 members of the command staff and others in the department met daily to examine incidents that occurred during the previous 24 hours.  In the future, I intend to refine these crime briefings and make them more effective.  I will share my approach later in this testimony.  MPD is not only working to prevent crime, but also has the responsibility to solve crime.  Preliminary UCR figures indicate that over the past year, our clearance rates improved in every crime category except motor vehicle theft and aggravated assault, which dropped slightly.  For homicides, the UCR clearance rate improved to 64.5%.  MPD is outperforming comparably sized cities in closing most major crimes (homicide, forcible rape, aggravated assault, & burglary). For other Part I crimes (robbery, larceny theft, and auto theft), clearance rates have been increasing over the past 3 years.

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Maintaining officer availability and attracting excellent candidates remains a priority for the department.  MPD worked aggressively to remain at 3,800 sworn members in 2006.  At the end of the year, only 5.7% were unavailable for full duty as a police officer because of extended sick leave or other factors, the lowest in the past three years.  The majority of officers in this category are members are still able to perform a useful function for the Department, with only 1.5% of the total sworn workforce (58) not working at all. This includes 14 officers who were on Military leave serving our country.  These improvements reflect the continuing success of new protocols that were instituted to monitor and evaluate long term officer unavailability.

Competition for qualified police recruits in this region – and nationally -- has been fierce.  Since October, MPD has hired 116 officers.  In the previous fiscal year, MPD hired 224 officers.  We anticipate that we will need to hire slightly more than 200 officers by the end of the fiscal year to reach a strength of 3900 members.  MPD’s recruit personnel attended job fairs at local colleges, universities, and military bases; hosted local law enforcement expos, conducted on-site testing in eight cities in four states, engaged in on-site testing at military bases, and enhanced diversity recruiting efforts by building partnerships with historically black colleges, women’s groups, and Latino, Asian, & Gay/Lesbian organizations.  I would like to thank Councilmember Mendelson for working with the Department to help enhance our ability to recruit qualified men and women to join MPD.  Now, individuals with three years active military duty and an honorable discharge, or five years of law enforcement experience, can join MPD even if they do not meet the 60 college-credit requirement.  This new law is projected to become effective today. 

These staffing efforts and other improvements are helping us to keep resources where they are needed most – out in our neighborhoods.  I am also instituting initiatives to keep more officers in the field, which I will describe later in this testimony.

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Overtime is an important tool that helps to foster effective policing, and allows the department to quickly respond to critical emergencies and emerging crime.  It is also used for reimbursable details in which establishments reimburse the department for extra police coverage.  The federal government also reimburses MPD for overtime associated with many major events such as demonstrations and inaugurations, ensuring that we can keep patrols members in the neighborhoods while ensuring the public safety during events unique to the nation’s capital.

Overtime hours increased from almost 600,000 hours in 2005 to approximately 775,000 in 2006.  Overtime associated with the crime emergency alone comprised of more than 200,000 hours.  While the department’s reimbursable overtime was nearly 173,000 hours, court-related overtime increased for the first time in five years. Higher arrest totals—which increased 5% in 2006—contributed to some of the increased court overtime.  However, overtime also increased because of a compensation policy change that had a significant impact on non-reimbursed overtime hours.  In previous years, officers earned compensatory time off for their first court appearance and hours worked in continuation of their regular tour of duty.  In 2006 -- as a result of an arbitration decision and settlement agreement -- sworn members won the right to select the form of compensation they received for overtime hours.  As a result, the default method of compensation for overtime hours is now overtime pay unless a specific request for compensatory time is made.  In 2006, court overtime hours increased by more than 65,000 hours.

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Communication and outreach is part of the operating philosophy of the Metropolitan Police Department.  In 2006, MPD continued to promote and support citizen patrols, and again enjoyed an extremely successful National Night Out against crime.  We continued our Senior Citizen Police Academy, graduating 13 senior volunteers.  In addition, membership in community listservs reached record levels, with nearly 3,200 participants.  These 7 listserv discussion groups (one for each police district), are operated by the police department and serve as an important conduit for residents and others to share perspectives about the police department and the community. 

In 2002, Chief Ramsey initiated a study to examine whether there was any bias in the delivery of police service in DC.  The study concluded that there was no evidence that MPD officers engage in racial profiling when conducting traffic stops In reviewing pedestrian stops, the report cited 2 intersections where people may have been disproportionally stopped: Hispanics and blacks at 17th & Euclid Street, NW, and blacks at Wisconsin & M Street, NW.  The MPD took a number of steps on this issue, to include holding a series of community dialogues across the city; focusing on training related to cultural diversity; and alerting the commanders of the two affected districts to monitor the situation closely. 

In 2006, MPD continued to work towards keeping our city safe from a possible terrorist attack.  The department endeavored to strike a balance between hometown security and homeland security, and persisted in equipping and training our personnel in terrorism prevention and response.  MPD took the lead in creating the District’s Critical Infrastructure Working Group, and now also represents the city in the region’s critical infrastructure activities. MPD’s Homeland Security Unit conducted 8 readiness exercises for both MPD patrol components and other organizations in the national capitol region. The unit was also represented on 11 homeland security committees.  In addition, MPD coordinated five homeland security related grants that supported the purchase of equipment and training.

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In the two months since I was designated as Acting Chief of Police, I have initiated a series of initiatives to improve the delivery of services – both internally and externally.  They include efforts related to communication, resource allocation, business processes, technology, youth issues, professionalism, and agency morale, among others. 

Communication – both internal and external – will remain an essential hallmark of the department’s future success.  Last month, MPD launched a community survey to gauge the public perception of the department, identify its level of engagement with the community, and assess the level of fear in neighborhoods.  The 70 question survey will be used by MPD to identify areas of improvement, prioritize public concerns, and serve as a baseline to compare future service improvements.  The survey has been distributed throughout the city, and can also be completed online.  We have already received more than 1000 responses.

Internal communication within the department is also critical.  When I became Acting Chief, I wanted a way in which members of the police department could anonymously contact me about issues inside the department.  I established Chief Concerns, an anonymous e-mail account that is opened in my office.  This direct means of communication allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of the MPD, and to monitor issues that are of concern to our department’s members.  Interestingly, many of the comments and suggestions I received were not personal issues, but tended to be broader issues addressing obstacles that impede better customer service.  The response has been tremendous, with more than 1,600 messages received.  My staff and I have read every email, and I have responded to several topics that emerged as themes.  My responses – which are regularly published in MPD’s daily Dispatch newsletter – have involved such diverse topics as voicemail, report form standardization, papering processes, equipment availability, and training.  Feedback from the department’s members about this venue has been extremely positive.

I think the Chief Concerns venue represents a small step towards improving the morale of the department.  Raising morale is critical to the success of MPD – and the city – as I believe that high morale leads to a proud, motivated, responsive, and competent police department.  It will be important in the coming year to regularly recognize members of the department – sworn and civilian – for outstanding service.  Praise is much more effective when it is timely, as it can inspire others to model exceptional effort and improve professionalism.  I have emphasized to the command staff the importance of promptly recognizing success.  Accordingly, I initiated the Round of Applause program, where I personally present recognition awards in front of the entire command staff at the beginning of our command briefings.  These awards are presented within days of the commendable behavior, and are highlighted in the MPD daily newsletter.

Also linked to morale is the need to provide officers with the tools to help them do their jobs effectively.  I have recently initiated a fleet reallocation program, and found that nearly half of the police department’s vehicles were unmarked.  I have directed that we reduce this number by 29% and expand the amount of marked cars – ensuring that the majority of the department’s fleet will be marked.  In addition, I am expanding the marked take-home vehicle program by 30% for officers that live in the District and work in the PSAs.  This will further enhance visibility and strengthen morale.  Moreover, I have authorized the distribution of personal digital assistants (PDAs) to all PSA captains and lieutenants, enabling them to respond to e-mails and telephone inquiries from the field.  This will allow for greater responsiveness to the community.

I have also directed that police officials the rank of lieutenant and above wear white uniform shirts.  This return to white shirts not only pays homage to the positive traditions of the department’s history, but also helps the public more easily identify higher ranking officers in the field.  This change has been warmly received by members of the department.

I am also examining the department’s various shift schedules; including the possibility of implementing 4 day, 10 hour shifts for personnel assigned to patrol.  I have already implemented such a structure for officers assigned to temporary patrol redeployment.  Changes to shift structure have been advocated by the Fraternal Order of Police, and their cooperation will be essential as the department considers various shift alternatives.

All of these initiatives will not only help to enhance the department’s visibility and facilitate better service delivery, but will also place many more resources into the hands of officers in patrol.  Such efforts not only raise morale, but are important steps towards making patrol assignments the most desirable in the department.

Importantly, I have also initiated the development of a comprehensive plan for improving the professionalism of the MPD.  The plan -- entitled Redefining Professionalism in the Metropolitan Police Department – will be completed in the coming months and will be implemented this year.  It will involve the reengineering of the MPD Institute of Police Science; the creation of new training courses; the establishment of an MPD best-practices center, and a focus on college-level programs.  This plan will not only foster greater professionalism among department members, but also equip them with knowledge resources to help them more efficiently serve the public.

*     *     *     *     *

I also believe that MPD needs to do a better job in collecting and analyzing crime data.  I recently directed that new business processes be established for the department’s Staff Review UCR Section – the unit that reviews police reports and data.  Poor working conditions and dated technology adversely affected the quality of our crime data.  MPD is undertaking significant steps to improve its business processes in this area, including resolving administrative classification coding conflicts between UCR and DC Code crime definitions.   While the initial preliminary data has been used for daily tactical deployment, the reengineering process underway will lead to improved data quality.  The Staff Review unit will be moving to appropriate facilities, and importantly, updated technology and software will be provided and new business processes implemented.  Further, I have instituted training details to the unit where newly promoted sergeants will review reports from throughout the department, and receive training on UCR coding.  Ultimately, this will lead to better reports being completed in the field.

Data analysis is also essential in developing strategies to prevent crime.  In the past, members of the command staff and others in the department met daily to examine incidents that occurred during the previous 24 hours.  I intend to refine these crime briefings and make them more efficient and effective.  In addition to examining recent crime trends, I intend to expand the sessions to include topics that support a more strategic approach to preventing and responding to crime.  We will not only conduct a thorough analysis of crime in the short term, but will also evaluate data not traditionally viewed in the context of crime. 

For example, in addition to reviewing multi-year historical crime trends, this holistic approach will include topics unique to individual communities such as population density, demographic trends, projected economic development, physical infrastructure, types of businesses, area transportation studies, and victim analysis.  Further, during these crime fighting strategy sessions we will work to advance overall agency efficiency as we identify -- and reengineer -- internal business processes that are failing.  This will include the leveraging of technology in reform efforts.  While the command staff will still examine crime on a daily basis, I will create more time for the department’s leaders to lead, manage, and inspire within their districts and divisions. 

While preventing crime is paramount, investigating crimes that have occurred is also an essential function of the department.  Even though MPD is outperforming comparable cities in closing many types of crimes, I believe we can do even better.  Recently, I instituted community based homicide investigations, and restructured how homicide detectives are assigned and deployed in the field.  By assigning homicide investigations to regional teams, detectives will be able to become more familiar with the criminals, witnesses, and sources that live and work in neighborhoods plagued by homicides and other violent crimes. This structure will help MPD to improve homicide clearance rates as detectives regularly develop police-citizen contacts in a focused area.  These teams will still operate under a centralized command, ensuring consistent standards and service.  Solving crimes -- and police responsiveness to crime victims – will remain a priority for the department in 2007.

I have also encouraged both tactical and strategic approaches to addressing crime.  MPD recently partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to initiate a chronic offender initiative, in which the USAO agreed to consistently seek detention of violent felons who possessed a firearm when they were arrested.  Further, MPD focused on apprehending the most violent offenders, targeting wanted individuals with a history of violence.  The initiative utilized ERT personnel and investigators, and incorporated debriefing interviews by district detectives to obtain intelligence to help prevent future crime and solve crimes that have occurred.  Since this effort was initiated last month, 79 wanted persons have been apprehended.

I have also been focusing the department on increasing the police presence on the streets, and, importantly, increasing meaningful contacts with the community that will help citizens to feel connected to our department. This meaningful connection is the key to making DC’s communities feel safe and addressing crime. Forging these connections is essential to the concept of Customized Community Policing, which I strongly advocate.  In the coming year, the department will continue to work hard to reduce crime and develop innovative ways to improve public safety.  This will require benchmarking best practices, fostering creativity, and encouraging brainstorming and strategizing by the entire command staff.  These activities will be essential to developing effective customized crime fighting strategies, and will help to encourage ownership in creating solutions and restoring individual pride — both in the department and community.

*     *     *     *     *

Encouraging creativity and leveraging technology leads to improved business processes, heightened quality of police service, and greater police visibility.  One recent improvement emanated from MPD’s Corporate Support Group, which implemented new business processes for how officers retrieve their uniforms.  In the past, officers would have to respond to our equipment branch in Southeast to obtain a uniform voucher, and then respond to our uniform vendor in Northeast.  The newly implemented process eliminated this time consuming step, and allows vouchers to be approved and printed remotely at officers’ duty assignments.  Ultimately, the process keeps more officers on the street and available for service.

New processes are also being implemented as it relates to court related overtime.  In an effort to keep more officers available for patrol instead of waiting to paper cases in court, MPD will be working in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, and D.C. Superior Court to institute papering reform.  We have already initiated this collaborative partnership.  I am committed to resolving the obstacles that have been long-associated with the inefficient papering process in the District of Columbia.  While work continues on the papering reform process as a whole, on February 14, 2007, I announced new cascading papering times for officers based on their tour of duty.  These designated times will reduce back-log during high-peak hours, create greater efficiency, and reduce overtime hours.

MPD is also in the process of developing and implementing electronic report forms, so that officers will only have to enter incident data once, allowing faster processing of arrest and incident paperwork. This enhanced efficiency will enable officers to return to the street faster, increasing visibility and productivity.  The first phase of the program, entitled the Police Officer Report Tool (PORT), will be implemented this month.  It allows members to complete 15 of the most common forms electronically.

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Many of my top priorities involve youth-focused strategies.  For example, while MPD has been extremely active in its truancy enforcement, reforms are needed in this area.  The department will work in the coming year with DCPS to improve truancy business processes, and focus on using technology to more efficiently track and analyze truancy frequency and behavior. 

The Department recently reintroduced the Officer Friendly Program, which will be administered by MPD’s School Safety Division at all public elementary schools in the District of Columbia. School resource officers will visit public elementary schools in DC, and will attend various classes and give lectures on traffic safety, personal safety and civic responsibility.  Bringing back the Officer Friendly program will help to restore this beneficial trust between police and young people.  In addition, PSA captains will meet monthly with school principals to enhance communication, and police officers will partner with firefighters to discuss crime and fire safety with young people.

Last month, MPD’s School Safety Division was notified that it will be awarded a grant to implement a violence prevention program in select schools.  The Options, Choices and Consequences (OCC) program is a youth related gun violence prevention and awareness initiative that focuses specifically on youth gun possession and related violence. It was originally developed by the Virginia Beach Police Department, who modeled it after a program in Seattle, Washington.  The program – which is recognized as an industry best-practice -- provides an understanding of the ripple effects of gun violence.  The program involves police officers, attorneys, physicians, and others engaging students in discussions designed to educate students on the consequences of gun violence and the options that young people have available to avoid violence.  MPD will work closely with students, parents, teachers, and administrators to ensure that the program content is appropriate.

In addition, Mayor Fenty announced the Safe Schools initiative, which involves the collaboration of District agencies and community organizations.  The program consists of two major components: one that seeks to reduce school violence; and the other to assist in getting students to and from school safely.  MPD is partnering in this program with Office of the Attorney General, U.S. Attorney’s Office, DDOT, Metro Transit Police, DC Public Schools, the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, the East Capitol Center for Change, and Peaceaholics.  These programs reflect MPD’s desire to participate in and implement creative approaches that serve our youth and help to keep them safer.  We will continue to focus on such endeavors in the future.

In regards to homeland security efforts, the MPD will continue to work with our partners to prevent terrorism and develop crisis response plans. Last month, MPD embarked on efforts to update the department’s continuity of operations plan.  MPD has hired an expert contractor to provide the department with technical assistance to ensure that we have appropriate plans in place to continue essential police operations in the event of a major crises.  We are currently in the process of identifying critical functions, positions, and systems that would need to be relocated if the primary site becomes unavailable. 

In addition, MPD is preparing to expand its intelligence fusion information center.  This broad based, multi-agency, multi-disciplined working group will expand to a new facility in this collaborative homeland security effort.   The fusion center, led by the MPD, provides intelligence analysis, sharing, and dissemination at the local and regional level, and assists a wide array of agencies with understanding current and future terror threats in and around the District of Columbia.  The center will support other public safety, health, and private sector organizations, and will be located in a new facility.  The center will operate with funding primarily provided by the Department of Homeland Security and other local and regional funds. 

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In closing, I am proud of the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department.  They have worked hard and made progress towards the goal of maintaining a safe city and fostering a high quality of life.  While significant challenges emerged, the department’s resolve to address them remained strong.  Their success has contributed to the development and vitality of our city.

I am excited about the future of the department, and through collaboration, innovation, and commitment we will all achieve a safer city, a more livable city.  I foresee a well staffed, well trained, and well equipped police department that is responsive to the needs of the community. We will be an empowered department seeking – and defining -- best practices in community policing.  MPD leaders, in conjunction with our partners, will encourage creativity and develop new and innovative ways to serve the public.  This will involve tailoring best-practice community policing to the unique needs of each specific neighborhood.  Strong motivated leadership that raises morale will foster a sense of commitment and pride as professionalism is improved at all levels.  I look forward to building on what the department is doing right, and enhancing the quality of life here in the nation’s capital.

Thank you again for the opportunity to present this statement for the record. My staff and I will be happy to answer your questions.