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NATO's 50th Anniversary Summit an Open Letter of Thanks to the MPDC and the Community

Tuesday, April 27, 1999
Statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

Chief Charles H. Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC

On behalf of the entire Command Staff of the Metropolitan Police Department, I want to thank the Washington, DC, community for your patience and good spirits in accommodating the NATO 50th Anniversary Summit this past weekend. Many of you had to alter your schedules and travel routes to conform with the security needs around the Federal Triangle area, and some of you were probably delayed by one of the motorcades that escorted visiting heads of state around the city. Your consideration contributed greatly to the success of this operation, and I thank you all.

I also want to publicly thank and congratulate all the members of the Metropolitan Police Department for a truly outstanding performance during the NATO Summit. Once again, the MPDC was in the international spotlight. And once again, you showed the world the pride and professionalism that define this agency. I have never been prouder to be associated with a group of public safety professionals.

I spent much of the weekend out in the field observing our operations. I was immediately struck by how massive and complex an operation the Summit was—in terms of planning and logistics, security, traffic flow and emergency response to unforeseen circumstances. At the same time, I was struck by how easy—almost routine—our members made it seem. This was a team effort, and every member did his or her part with true excellence. I want to highlight just a few examples:

  • I salute the Special Operations Division for developing and carrying out such a comprehensive and logical plan, in cooperation with the US Secret Service and our other partners. The Command Bus was an impressive picture of both up-front planning and flexibility when plans changed.
  • I salute the officers who participated in the motorcades. You moved our distinguished guests efficiently and safely, with minimal disruption to the community and always looking professional.
  • I salute the dispatchers and other communications personnel. You provided a critical link between members in the field and those in the Command Bus. Your calm demeanor and skills were essential ingredients in this operation.
  • I salute the traffic control officers who made sure residents and visitors in the city over the weekend could get around with relative ease and speed. This detail included many recruits, whose performance belied their experience.
  • I salute the Emergency Response Team, Explosive Ordnance Division and other specialized units who lent their critical support. We had a large number of suspicious packages and vehicles reported over the weekend, and these units responded quickly and professionally to all of them. I was particularly impressed with how our members worked with FBI and ATF agents to open a suspicious package at American University Saturday afternoon.
  • I salute the officers who staffed the police service areas (PSAs) and police districts over the weekend. While much of the world was focused on the downtown area, you were making sure our residents out in the neighborhoods were served. Overall, it was a relatively peaceful weekend in the city, with no homicides reported over the three days of the Summit.

And I salute all the other members of the MPDC who contributed to the success of this operation -- in areas suh as public information, payroll and finance, information systems, and equipment. Many of you worked behind the scenes, but your efforts were essential nonetheless.

We canceled our members' leave and days off to serve during the Summit. Many of our members had to give up precious time with families and loved ones into work over the weekend. I sincerely appreciate the sacrifice you made, as do our city's residents and visitors.

Historians will long remember the NATO 50th Anniversary Summit for its significance in furthering international peace. I would say that the MPDC's performance is one for the history books as well. Thank you again.