Washington, D.C., police will revive a gun-recovery unit, reports the Washington Post. Police Chief Cathy Lanier hopes it will get hundreds of guns off city streets, curb violent crime, and lead to more prosecutions of gun cases. Former chief Charles Ramsey dismantled the unit in the late 1990s, putting more uniformed officers on the streets instead. The new unit signals a shift in how Lanier plans to reduce homicides, which are up 7 percent from last year, as she crafts her own crime-fighting strategies for the 3,900-member force she has led since January.
The gun mission is targeted toward reducing the number of shootings in the city; despite one of the strictest gun laws in the country, weapons remain in plentiful supply. Last year under Ramsey, police confiscated more than 2,600 guns. Lanier wants to go deeper to get to the source of the firearms. “It’s ridiculous. There are way too many guns out there,” Lanier said. One police official said that while officers recovered more than 2,000 guns annually in recent years, investigators rarely tracked where the weapons were coming from and who the leading dealers were. “Now we’re going to debrief” suspects on where the guns came from, said the official. “We’re going to go after everything we can. The interview is the key.” The unit will operate under the “plus-one rule.” That means that if a suspect is caught with a gun or ammunition, an officer should assume that the suspect has more and should apply for a search warrant.