- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2009

An arbitrator has ordered Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier to halt her signature policing initiative that put the department’s roughly 4,000 officers on patrol shifts for three-day periods to deter crime and execute arrest warrants.

The All Hands on Deck program violates labor practices and D.C. law, arbitrator John Truesdale said in a ruling issued Thursday.

Chief Lanier often credited the program with a reduction in crime, and particularly homicides, that has the District on pace to finish the year with the fewest killings recorded in the city in decades. But skeptics said the program provided only photo opportunities and was ineffective.

The defeat marks the third time the chief has been forced to back away from one of her high-profile programs. A federal appeals court in July declared unconstitutional a controversial checkpoint program used to cordon off a crime-ridden D.C. neighborhood last year. In April 2008, a public backlash and criticism from the ACLU against the controversial Safe Homes initiative led Chief Lanier to abandon a plan for officers to ask residents to allow police to search their homes for illegal guns.

The department has 20 days to appeal the arbitrator’s decision, which resulted from a complaint brought by the labor union that represents D.C. police officers.