- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday asked the D.C. Council for $11 million to continue and expand a package of emergency crime measures passed in July.

The legislation includes a request for $5 million for youth-violence prevention programs, $4.2 million for additional police overtime and $1.7 million for the city’s burgeoning network of neighborhood surveillance cameras.

It also would renew four key provisions of the mayor’s emergency package, which is set to expire at midnight tomorrow.

Those provisions authorized the use of neighborhood surveillance cameras, allowed some offenders to be held until trial, gave police access to juvenile criminal records and granted the mayor power to set the time of the juvenile curfew.

Today, the council is scheduled to vote on whether to renew the package for 90 days on an emergency basis. But, the council’s general counsel first must determine whether the legislation violates a statute barring passage of the same law more than once on an emergency basis.

Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, the counsel, told The Washington Times last month that the bill would require a “very substantial modification” to be permitted under the statute, which is designed to prevent city officials from circumventing the congressional review period to which D.C. laws are subject.

Mrs. Brookins-Hudson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Adrian M. Fenty, the Democratic nominee for mayor, cast the lone vote against the crime package in July. Reached last night, Mr. Fenty said he was “being briefed” on the mayor’s proposal.

Permanent anti-crime legislation that addresses the provisions of the emergency measure is before the council, but it cannot be enacted before December, at the earliest.

Mr. Williams yesterday also announced an end to the 10 p.m. juvenile curfew. Beginning Friday, curfew hours for those 16 or younger will return to 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

“It has been useful,” Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said. “It was a temporary measure. It just gave the mayor the authority to change the hours. It was never meant to be a permanent solution.”

Chief Ramsey said the overtime money would be used to pay for expenditures the police department has incurred in recent weeks since officials spent the $8 million that the council appropriated for overtime in the emergency measure in July.

He said he expected to continue through the end of the month the crime emergency, which suspends the provisions of the police union contract that mandates a two-week notice before changing officers’ assignments.

He said some of the overtime money would be used to fund overtime assignments after the emergency ends, but those would be on a limited volunteer basis.

The chief could not say how many more cameras he expected the department to purchase. He said that more than $1 million of the $2.3 million that the council authorized in July was spent on infrastructure but that those costs should be far less this time.

“The majority of it will go to cameras,” he said. “I would think we would be able to get another 35-40.”

Janis Bolt, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement, said each camera costs $21,975.


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