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IMF-World Bank Thank You

Thursday, April 20, 2000
Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

On behalf of the entire Metropolitan Police Department, I want to thank the community for its patience and support over the past several days. The extraordinary demonstrations surrounding the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank required our Department to take some extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of meeting participants, the demonstrators and, of course, our residents and business people. I especially want to thank those who live and work in the immediate vicinity of the IMF and World Bank headquarters. Your lives were certainly disrupted by the street closings and other restrictions we had to put in place to protect lives and property. You showed tremendous understanding throughout.

I also want to salute the numerous other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that participated in this endeavor. Without your expertise and assistance in planning the operation and carrying it out—often on the front lines—we never could have succeeded. Our joint response to the IMF/World Bank meetings and demonstrations proved once again that the Washington, DC, region has the finest law enforcement professionals in the nation.

I also want to thank the many other District of Columbia agencies that also contributed to this team effort. Under the leadership of Mayor Williams, we proved that our city is indeed world class when it comes to handling major events. Special recognition also goes to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which provided critical support by closing stations, re-routing some bus routes, and offering buses for our own operations.

Finally, I want to publicly thank all the dedicated men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department. They are the real heroes in this story. Many of our officers worked 12- 14- or even 16-hour shifts for several days at a time. They worked in inclement weather and often in very tense and difficult situations. Throughout it all, our officers showed remarkable discipline, restraint and professionalism. Their success on the front lines was supported by many, many other Department members—sworn and civilian—who provided planning, coordination, training, intelligence and communication. And we were able to provide the type of extraordinary presence we had in the downtown area only because so many other dedicated officers worked extended shifts making sure our neighborhoods were protected.

I said all along that our mission in this operation was three-fold: 1) to allow the IMF and World Bank to hold their meetings; 2) to allow the demonstrators to exercise their First Amendment rights; and 3) to ensure the safety of all parties—especially our residents, business owners and workers. I believe we achieved all three goals with unprecedented precision and skill. I heartily salute everyone involved. I have never been prouder to be a police officer, a resident of the District of Columbia, or a member of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of Police