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D.C. police chief plans five more full-force shifts
“We got such a good response from the community that Chief Lanier decided to do it again,” police spokeswoman Traci Hughes said. “It’s what residents want to see — more officers on the beat or more officers on foot patrol.”
Miss Hughes said the program will run five times over three-day periods — during which the entire department will work patrol shifts — beginning the first Friday in May. The other dates are scheduled in June, August, November and December.
But unlike last year, the three-day periods will not necessarily be on weekends. For example, the scheduled three-day periods from June 26 to 28 and from Dec. 18 to 20 occuron Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The August dates — Aug. 4-6 — fall on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Crime doesn’t always happen on the weekends. Crime occurs every day of the week, so we’re doing [All Hands on Deck] during the week,” Miss Hughes said.
Police union officials last year criticized the initiative, partly because some commanders were upset the initiative was held on weekends because they had a higher demand for officers during the week.
Chief Lanier dismissed the claim at the time and said the weekends were scheduled based on historical trends of high crime activity. She also said at the time she had not heard complaints from any commanders.
Mr. Mendelson said in November that he didn’t think the higher number of arrests made during All Hands on Deck weekends translated to less crime, considering the city saw a spike in homicides and other crimes last year.
Council members Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, and Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, echoed the sentiment as they asked for help fighting crime in the form of city services for youth involved in gang violence.
The chief in part attributed the department’s improved homicide-closure rate — 70 percent last year, compared with 64 percent in 2006 — to information gleaned from the increased interaction with residents.
Chief Lanier in January suggested the return of the initiative, saying she would use “creative” strategies to increase police visibility until she increased the size of the force “pretty significantly.”
The department’s goal is to reach 4,050 officers by October and a year later to reach 4,200, which is the authorized sworn strength of the department.
Nearly six months into the fiscal year, though, the department is about 100 officers short of its goal for this year, but recruiting officers said they expect to see a continued decline in attrition and a boost in applicants during the job-fair season.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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