- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2006

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that he has secured commitments from local and federal law-enforcement agencies to provide officers and other resources for what he envisions as a two- to four-week push to counter a spate of violent crime this month.

Chief Ramsey said agents with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service would team with the District’s robbery squad, hunt down illegal guns in predetermined “hot spots” and serve warrants on fugitives.

He said the U.S. attorney’s office will examine the case files of anybody charged with a violent crime to determine whether any previous offenses need to be prosecuted.

“It’s really more effective when everyone is involved, from the courts to the U.S. attorney to federal law-enforcement agencies and our own department,” he said.

Chief Ramsey said a day of meetings yesterday also resulted in agreements with the U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service Uniformed Division, the Metro Transit Police and the D.C. Housing Authority Police to provide a more visible presence in D.C. neighborhoods.

The department will share information from any arrests within 48 hours to help police map crime patterns, he said.

City officers will crack down on quality-of-life violations such as public intoxication, Chief Ramsey said.

The chief declared a crime emergency this week after a spike in violence.

Chief Ramsey has suspended provisions of the union contract that mandate a two-week notice before changing officers’ assignments and has doubled the reward to $10,000 for information leading to arrests and convictions in robbery cases. Starting next week, he will institute a six-day workweek for officers.

“That will give me another 350 people on the street,” Chief Ramsey said. The officers will receive overtime pay.

The police chief says he has been maintaining contact with Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who supports his efforts and is seeking funding for the initiatives.

WRC-TV (Channel 4) reported last night that Mr. Williams, a Democrat, was prepared to ask the council to convene a special session to enact anti-crime legislation. The station reported that Mr. Williams wants permission to install police cameras across the city and establish a juvenile curfew earlier than the midnight restriction now in effect.

The mayor wants the council to hold a public meeting next week and vote on legislation within two weeks.

The council ended its session Tuesday and is on summer recess until September.

July traditionally has been a bloody month in the District. More than 20 homicides have been recorded in July in each of the past four years. The 33 killings recorded in July 2002 are the most in one month during Chief Ramsey’s eight-year tenure.

The surge in crime this month could have an effect on the Sept. 12 primary election that likely will decide the next mayor. Chief Ramsey’s future has been a subject of debate, and none of the five mayoral candidates has committed to retaining him.

Council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat and mayoral candidate, has expressed dissatisfaction with Chief Ramsey. As mayor, he said, he would give the chief a specified period to improve community policing before determining whether to keep him.

The council voted 10-3 on Tuesday to increase Chief Ramsey’s pension from $44,000 a year to $60,000. The legislation requires another vote in the fall before it is enacted. Similar legislation was postponed three years ago.

Meanwhile, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting congressional representative, said yesterday that the Mall is in dire need of additional lighting because of a string of robberies there.

Mrs. Norton, a Democrat, visited the Mall on Thursday night to assess security. She said she would continue to make unannounced visits to ensure the safety of tourists and residents.

Nathan Bomey contributed to this report.

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