Washington, D.C.’s police department fired 55 officers in the past fiscal year, nearly triple the number recorded two years ago, reports the Washington Post. Police and union officials said the increase does not suggest a rise in improper behavior. Police officials said firings spiked because of a new D.C. law requiring that internal affairs investigations be completed within 90 days. The law, which took effect in September 2004, forced officials to finish work on a backlog of old cases while keeping up with new matters.
Union officials said that the department is acting more aggressively against officers and that some have been unfairly fired. Police provided a statistical breakdown of firing data to the Post under the Freedom of Information Act. Of those fired in the past fiscal year, the cause for 18 officers was unbecoming conduct, a broad category that includes being charged with a crime and harassment. The cause was neglect of duty for two others and “truthfulness/falsification of records” for four officers.