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D.C. report urges changes to celebrity escort policies

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A Metropolitan Police Department escort for celebrity bad-boy Charlie Sheen in April was "not extraordinary," but highlighted the casual manner in which the agency documents and carries out such duties, according to a report released Wednesday by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General.

The 82-page report found the agency lacked clearly written guidelines for non-dignitary escorts and had inadequate coordination with neighboring jurisdictions' agencies and documentation of payment for the service.

The OIG's began a special evaluation of celebrity escorts after widespread media attention on Mr. Sheen's escort on April 19 from Washington Dulles International Airport to Constitution Hall, where he was running late for a show.

Mr. Sheen tweeted a picture of the car traveling at 80 mph and of a lead escort vehicle with flashing lights. However, the OIG could not independently verify the information in the photo.

According to the report, an officer who authorized the escort advised officers not to use their lights and sirens, but the officers did not recall that instruction.

The OIG does not view the actions of the officers as "contrary to established practice," but expressed concern about lax documentation and said escort operations are "fraught with risk and potential liability."

The report makes 11 recommendations, including clearer guidelines for non-dignitary escorts, a better fee structure, more organized records and stronger collaboration with surrounding jurisdictions.

A recent hearing before a D.C. Council committee revealed different views of escort procedures, though Metropolitan police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said officers should be aware of general orders that outline the policy.

Responding to the report, the chief said previous Special Operations commanders, including her, followed the policy.

"Just because these folks got caught and claimed they didn't know about the General Order does not excuse the fact that they violated the policy," she said.

Chief Lanier also said a clearer, more detailed order is necessary "in light of everyone's claim of confusion when they got caught."

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