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Catania bill would authorize police attrition study

- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2011

D.C. Council member David A. Catania will introduce a bill Tuesday that creates an advisory commission on retention and recruitment of officers in the Metropolitan Police Department.

The proposed commission of six members would serve without compensation for 90 days and produce a report to the mayor, council and police chief on tactics and strategies to maintain adequate police staffing in the face of dwindling ranks, anticipated retirements and a dormant academy.

The attrition has been a hot topic in the last month, prompting council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, to introduce a bill that would keep 4,000 or more officers on the D.C. payroll at all times.

The Fraternal Order of the Police's Metropolitan Police Labor Committee supports Mr. Catania's proposal.

"Last month, Chief Cathy Lanier made it clear to the Council that the present rate of attrition will quickly produce an unsafe situation with regard to the number of police officers available to protect the residents of the District," said Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the FOP committee that represents officers in the roughly 3,800-member department.

Mr. Catania, at-large independent, said it made sense to put together an emergency commission to suggest proposed solutions, "many of which have merit."

"Safe and well-patrolled streets are vital to the District's social and economic well-being," he said Monday. "An adequately-staffed police department with professional, well-trained officers allows District residents to live their lives more fully and businesses to operate more freely."

The advisory commissions members would be appointed by the mayor and the FOP within 15 days of the bill's passage.

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