- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 22, 2003

The commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 5th District said yesterday that police officers are not targets of intimidation by local criminals, even though the cars of two officers living in her district were shot at separately over the last three weeks.

“The 5th District is just as safe for a police officer to live in as any other part of the city,” Cmdr. Jennifer Greene said.

Her comments come a day after a gunman shot at an Amtrak police officer’s car and home in the Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast, and three weeks after someone fired at a Metro Transit Police officer’s truck outside his home in the Woodridge neighborhood.

The girlfriend of a police officer and the wife of another Tuesday asked D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, chairman of the council’s Judiciary Committee, to investigate the police department’s handling of threats against police families living in the 5th District.

Sandy Nelson, girlfriend of a Metro Transit Police officer, and Deborah Rosario, the wife of a D.C. officer, say D.C. police officials mishandled their cases by not assigning detectives quickly to them, or, without warning or explanation, canceling protective details assigned to their homes.

Yesterday, Mrs. Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, sent a letter to Metropolitan Police Department Chief Charles H. Ramsey requesting information on both shootings, and threats against other police families in that district.

“It’s something that needs to be resolved,” Mrs. Patterson said.

Police said they are continuing to investigate Tuesday’s shooting outside the Amtrak officer’s house in the 1200 block of Orren Street NE.

But they said they believe the bullets that struck the officer’s canine-patrol truck, his wife’s minivan and the frame above his front door were “stray gunfire.” Also, police confirmed that a Potomac Electric Power Co. employee was injured by the gunfire that hit the officer’s house. Last night, the employee, who was not identified, remained in stable condition at Prince George’s Hospital Center.

Cmdr. Greene said police don’t know whom the gunman was targeting.

The commander’s view of Tuesday’s shooting doesn’t sit well with Miss Nelson, the girlfriend of Metro Transit Police Capt. William Malone, who was recently threatened by suspected neighborhood drug dealers.

“It scares me that they’re willing to write these incidents off as random before they really look into what’s going on,” Miss Nelson said.

Last month, a gunman fired six high-caliber rounds into Capt. Malone’s 1987 Chevy Blazer. The couple believe the April 23 shooting was the work of suspected drug dealers upset that a police officer was living in their neighborhood.

Mrs. Rosario, wife of 5th District Master Patrol Officer Fred Rosario, agreed with Miss Nelson’s sentiments. “They don’t treat spouses and families of police officers as citizens,” she said.

Mrs. Rosario and her 3-year-old son were shot at in December 2000 outside their Northeast home.

Cmdr. Greene said crime is bound to touch police officers and their families, but she denied that they are treated differently during investigations. “We’re protecting all people, all residents, who live in the 5th District just the same,” she said.

Earlier this month, Capt. Malone and Miss Nelson filed several citizen complaints against 5th District police officials, accusing them of mishandling the investigation into the April 23 shooting and harassing them after they filed the complaint.

Cmdr. Greene said the couple’s complaints are under investigation and declined further comment.

Preliminary D.C. police statistics show violent crime in the 5th District rose 21 percent over the last year, the largest increase of any police district in the city.

As of yesterday morning, there have been 23 homicides, compared with 18 at this time last year. There also have been 302 robberies, compared with 219 last year.


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