- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2003

Officers in the 6th Police District yesterday made their presence felt in Southeast’s Fairlawn and Greenway neighborhoods by setting up “mini-stations” on a couple of street corners.

Sitting at folding tables beneath umbrellas, the officers observed and were observed by residents as they went about their daily activities. But suspected drug dealers near Anacostia Senior High School and Kramer Middle School disappeared from Fairlawn.

“There were about 10 out here on each side of the street,” said Officer J.G. Jackson, who went on duty at 7 a.m. at the mini-station at 18th and Q streets SE.

Another mini-station was set up in the 400 block of Burbank Street SE in Greenway.

The mini-stations are part of Operation Fight Back, a multiagency initiative that focuses police and other resources on certain communities. The first Operation Fight Back was held in February in the 6th Police District.

The Metropolitan Police Department has executed the plan eight times since April, said Lt. Michelle Milan, a former Kramer student.

Yesterday, officers in Southeast checked and ticketed about a dozen illegally parked cars, and called for some to be towed, said Cmdr. Willie Dandridge of the 6th District. They also helped clear the streets of trash and debris.

“We had to clean up here. There were bottles, cans and papers all over this,” said Officer Jackson, motioning at the grassy area between sidewalk and curb where the mini-station was set up amid brick apartments and town houses.

Fairlawn residents later approached the stand to talk with officers and browse dozens of pamphlets with titles such as “Teen Dating Violence,” “Safety Tips for Runners and Walkers,” “Ten Things Kids Can Do to Stop Violence” and “Guard Laptop Computers.”

Throughout the day, officers set up roadblocks to question motorists about car ownership, car contents or services they might need from the District, Lt. Milan said. She added that some arrest warrants were likely to be issued as a result of information acquired during the roadblocks.

Cpl. J.E. Lucas, a D.C. officer for 33 years, said some cars that were towed yesterday would be retrieved by their owners and returned to Fairlawn.

In previous operations, officers have set up safety checkpoints, towed abandoned cars and cleaned up trash in different areas around Southeast. Officers’ interaction with residents has helped improve community relations, police officials said.

Police information officer Kenneth Bryson said the program has proven so successful that Chief Charles H. Ramsey has directed that it be implemented in all seven police districts.

It is more than just a police operation. Police coordinate activities with federal and city agencies such as the D.C. Housing Authority, the Department of Public Works, U.S. Park Police, and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Lt. Milan said Operation Fight Back sites are “selected by need.”

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