- The Washington Times - Monday, May 12, 2003

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday he will sign the city’s budget and enforce a measure that demands more neighborhood police patrols.The mayor called the $3.76 billion budget “a consensus budget,” and said he has no problem putting more than half of the city’s police officers, lieutenants and sergeants in the District’s eight wards. The council on Tuesday unanimously approved the budget and the measure, which was proposed by council member Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat. “We worked with the council, and we will be able to meet the requirements of putting 62 percent of our officers in the neighborhoods,” Mr. Williams said.Mr. Williams, however, did not respond to Mr. Chavous’ comments that the Metropolitan Police Department has too many employees earning more than $100,000 a year. The Washington Times yesterday reported Mr. Chavous’ concerns and his recommendations to reduce the department’s command staff. He said the number of “top brass” positions — commanders, captains and assistant chiefs — that pay more than $100,000 annually has grown to more than 30 under Chief Charles H. Ramsey’s leadership over the last five years. The Times first reported last month that the District has many more city workers earning $100,000 salaries than Chicago, a city nearly 3 million residents, and Baltimore, a city of similar size with 651,000 residents.With 572,000 residents, the District has 156 more city workers earning more than $100,000 annually than Chicago does. Only 34 of Baltimore’s 15,000 employees earn more than $100,000 a year.Of the District’s 34,000 city employees, 575 earn $100,000 or more a year. That number rose from 301 in 1999, when Mr. Williams took office.Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, has expressed concern about the proliferation of executive-style pay to subordinate employees but says the issue has not reached a level that would require legislative restrictions.Mr. Chavous said his measure, which passed as an amendment to the budget, also asks the federal government to fund 500 officers for federal patrol services. Mr. Williams said he will negotiate with the Bush administration on finding additional federal funding for the department.”One example is that we may ask that the feds pay for motorcade use for high-ranking officials, but we are just at the exploratory stage right now,” he said. “When you take the federal presence here into account, I think we may still be underfunding our police.” Chief Ramsey has completed a new patrol-service plan for the department, and will present it at a summit this Saturday. The mayor said the new system will allow the department to reach the council’s 62 percent deployment goal.Some council members immediately questioned Mr. Chavous’ measure at their meeting Tuesday. Council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, said the measure should be increased to 80 percent and include all officers, even “top brass.”Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, said she was concerned that the 62 percent mandate did not include assault and homicide detectives and inspectors. “We need to strengthen what we are doing with investigations. … This is the part that is critical to D.C. police and the one that is woefully inadequate,” she said. Mrs. Patterson said the city of Milwaukee spends 51 percent of its police budget on investigations, while the District spends only 16 percent. Council member Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican, said the District’s low closure rate of homicide investigations is the reason she voted for the mandate. The city’s closure rate is less than 50 percent. “We have the worst closure rate in the nation,” she said. “Our homicides are up 23 percent, and it can’t get any worse. Why don’t we try the 62 percent [mandate] and see what happens?”Mrs. Schwartz said that over the last three years she has voted for two bills mandating increased police presence, and that the council has always been told to wait for service patrol reports. She said some of the city’s homicides may have been thwarted if there were more officers patrolling neighborhoods instead of federal buildings downtown, months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

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