- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2011

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Friday that a police escort given to actor Charlie Sheen appears to have violated multiple department rules.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the police chief said that “if the allegations are correct, several aspects of this escort were not within policy.”

The department has taken criticism in recent days after Mr. Sheen was escorted by police on Tuesday from Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia to the District. The actor was running about an hour late for a scheduled performance at DAR Constitution Hall.

Mr. Sheen tweeted a photograph indicating that the police vehicle accompanying his vehicle was speeding and using emergency lights. When he arrived at the performance, he made joking references to the police escort and the speed at which it traveled.

“I just landed. We had a police escort, and we ran more red lights than Brooke Mueller heading to a pawnshop,” the actor said, referring to his ex-wife.

Chief Lanier said it is not police practice to utilize emergency equipment for non-emergency situations, that members of the MPD generally do not operate in another jurisdiction without the assistance of a partner agency, and that it appears police protocols surrounding the approval of reimbursable details were not followed.

Police policies state that vehicles be used for escort duty to provide security to the president, the vice president, the mayor or any visiting heads of state or their representatives who require extra protection.

The policy says there is a provision that allows for requests to be reviewed on a case by case basis, but a submission must go through the chain of command and be approved by an assistant chief.

“This matter is under investigation by the MPD Internal Affairs Division,” Chief Lanier said.

Kristopher Baumann, head of the Fraternal Order of Police unit that represents MPD officers, took issue with the chief’s explanation because it cited “written” department policy.

He said that after reports that former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was using officers in vehicles to escort his bicycling team outside the District, the union in 2008 filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the department for the written policies authorizing police use of emergency lights outside the city.

A December 2008 response from the Office of the Attorney General indicated there were “no records responsive to this request.”

Mr. Baumann said that, in general, the use of reimbursable details can help public safety and, if used correctly, can be a source of revenue for a department struggling for resources.

“The rule has to be clear, the public needs to know about it and we need to comply with all laws — and it’s not clear we’re doing any of that,” he said.

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