Who are the bad guys on the streets?
Or the cops?
When police officers have to use force in the line of duty, are they putting themselves in danger of an internal investigation and possible termination?
These questions are relevant to police departments from Washington to Los Angeles.
In investigating a disciplinary action against three officers by the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department, I wrote a story that touched a nerve in law-enforcement ranks. In many departments, charges of police brutality in the 1970s have led to stringent regulations and disciplinary policies against officers.
In the case of DC’s police department, the Department of Justice was invited in to establish disciplinary policies and procedures. The result is a department in which many officers would rather ride around and react to calls than aggressively police the streets.
Law-enforcement professionals call it “depolicing.”
The following story, new column and supporting documents with my notes (see below) describe the situation here in DC.
Read the testimony of Gene Smith, a former prosecutor and wife of a metro cop. She testified before the DC Council Judiciary Committee on October 6, 2006.
Then take a look at a DC police department document which changed previous policy to state that the use of a moving vehicle is no longer considered deadly force.