Some 34 members of the Washington, D.C., police department have been arrested this year on assault, fraud, drunken driving, and other charges, the largest number in at least five years, reports the Washington Post. The percentage of officers arrested on the 3,800-member force is small, but this year’s total is 10 more than last year’s. At least five cases involve on-duty conduct; most stem from off-duty activities. Thirteen officers were arrested on domestic violence charges, 10 for drunken driving.
Officials refused to provide many details, initially denying a request under the Freedom of Information Act. After the Post appealed, officials agreed to provide a general breakdown of cases but refused to release names, saying they were concerned about the officers’ privacy and noting that some cases could be dismissed. The Post obtained more than a dozen names through court records and other law enforcement sources. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she began noticing an increase in domestic violence and alcohol-related arrests at the end of last year. Some trouble could be related to job stress from overtime that officers were forced to work last year, she said. She added that she has little tolerance for officers committing crimes. In most cases, when officers are arrested, their badges and guns are taken away and they are put on desk duty until the charges are resolved. In cases involving drugs or sexual assault, officers typically are barred from the workplace. After a hiring blitz in 1989 and 1990, the department cut corners on recruiting, background checks, and training. About 200 officers were charged with crimes between then and 1996.