- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2001

D.C. police officials will allow the lead forensic investigator in the Chandra Levy investigation to meet firearms qualifications this week and return to active duty.
The department's shooting range in Southwest will hold three sessions tomorrow and Friday for Officer John Allie and about 46 other officers to meet their semiannual requirement, officials said.
If they pass, they can return to their regular assignments July 29, Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer told The Washington Times. If they fail, Chief Gainer said he will seek to fire them.
The Times reported yesterday that Officer Allie and others had been turned away repeatedly from the shooting range because of staffing shortages and other problems.
Officer Allie is a forensic-evidence technician in the Mobile Crime Lab, which handles major cases, such as homicides and rapes. He is the lead forensic investigator in the Levy case, having searched the missing intern's former Dupont Circle residence and the Adams Morgan apartment of Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat, with whom she has been linked romantically.
Since Officer Allie and other forensic specialists were reassigned to the property division last week, evidence work on the Levy case and others has been on hold, police sources said. Requests from prosecutors have gone unanswered, crime-scene items have not been fully examined, and detectives cannot get briefings on any forensic analysis.
The evidence technicians will not be able to return to the Mobile Crime Lab before July 29 because the police union's contract calls for 14-day notice of a schedule change.
FBI investigators are examining the results of Mr. Condit's lie-detector test, which he paid for and passed last week. Police officials have said they will look at the raw data and the tester's analysis, but will regard the results as not credible because the test was not conducted by law-enforcement authorities. They received the results Monday night.
Mr. Condit, who police sources this month said admitted to having an affair with Miss Levy after having denied it for weeks, said "no" when asked if he had anything to do with her disappearance, if he had caused her harm and if he knew where she is, his attorney, Abbe Lowell, said last week. The congressman showed no signs of deception, the attorney said.
"The police are the best people to know what questions to ask," said Chief Gainer.
The chief also said Miss Levy on May 1 was looking at Web sites for House committees on which Mr. Condit is a member, but he said he could not assume what that means. Miss Levy, who was last seen April 30, also looked at Web sites for plane and rail travel, and maps of areas in the District.
Yesterday, officers from the U.S. Park Police and the police department searched wooded areas in the city for a second day. There was a flurry of excitement when they found shoes and a box-cutter near Piney Branch Parkway in Northwest, but they were determined to be unrelated to the Levy case.
A plan to search landfills was called off after a waste-management company said it would take up to a year and cost between $6 million and $8 million at each site to dig through hundreds of acres of trash that has compacted 70 feet deep, said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a police spokesman.
Meanwhile, D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, whose committee oversees the police department, wrote to Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey last week saying she was concerned about staffing problems at the police shooting range and the impact of reassigning members of the Mobile Crime Lab.
Removing the lead forensic investigator in any case delays evidence processing and slows the investigation, police officials said. Less-experienced crime-scene search officers from the seven district stations have been used to replace the experts in the Mobile Crime Lab.
Officer Allie could not be reached for comment.
Chief Gainer blamed the reassigned officers for not qualifying, saying that anyone who does not get the semiannual certification is unfit for duty. He also dismissed complaints that Mobile Crime Lab members didn't get the chance to qualify.
"If 3,343 of us could all make our qualification, and these people couldn't, I don't know what's wrong," he said. "It's inconceivable to me we couldn't accommodate them. They had six months to do it. I think that's kind of a reasonable period of time."
Jim Keary and David Boyer contributed to this article.

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