Chief Declares Crime Emergency In Washington, D.C.


Washington, D.C., Police Chief Charles Ramsey, reacting to a surge in homicides, declared a “crime emergency,” reports the Washington Post. The move gives him the freedom to adjust officers’ schedules quickly and restrict their days off. Thirteen people have been killed since July 1 in the capital, and police are being pressured to take action by residents at community meetings and vigils to honor the dead. The victims included a popular store owner slain at closing time, a community activist killed in a park, and a British citizen whose throat was slit in Georgetown this week. “You can’t make sense of it because it doesn’t make any sense,” Ramsey said of the slayings, which have occurred all over the city. “Thirteen people is simply unacceptable by anyone’s standards. We have to do something right now.”

Ramsey transferred a police official who was accused of making a racially insensitive remark at a community meeting after the Georgetown killing. The “emergency” declaration gives him the power to shift the department’s 3,800 officers to areas and times they are needed most. He can change schedules without giving officers 14 days’ notice, as required under the union contract. Ramsey said he will increase patrols in hard-hit neighborhoods and put nonuniformed officers on the streets to help provide the increased coverage. Robberies have increased 14 percent this year. Robbery is a very dangerous crime,” Ramsey said. “You are literally one movement away from it being a homicide.”


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