OF THE WASHINGTON
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of John B. Childers
of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
Service Compensation System Changes Emergency Approval Resolution
Pay, Term of Office and Voluntary Retirement Modifications, and
Compensation System Changes for
Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey Amendment Act of 2003"
Chairman Cropp and Members of the Council, I am pleased to testify today
in support of Chief Charles H. Ramsey and the pending pieces of
legislation that would modify his financial compensation arrangements and
allow him to receive a pay raise. I support legislative steps to enable
this to happen for Chief Ramsey as I believe Chief Ramsey is completely
deserving of continuing as Chief and receiving additional compensation. I
do not have a position on whether these are provisions that should be
extended generally to other DC government officials.
The major concern expressed by some Council members about Chief Ramsey and
the performance of the Metropolitan Police Department, and appropriately
so, is specific instances of less than stellar performance of some members
of the Metropolitan Police Department, and specific categories of crimes
that have shown an increase in the past year or so.
But as appropriate as it is to compare this year to last year or the year
before, I think it is also instructive to look at the longer term history.
I moved to the District in 1963, and have worked here ever since. I have
lived through some tumultuous times in the District, and ask you to
remember that all was not perfect before Chief Ramsey arrived. A quick
look at some newspaper clips in my files reveals:
- Homicides peaked in the District in 1993.
- The police union announced in 1997 that officers could no longer
"fully protect" residents and called for the Federal
government to take over the department.
- Seven police officers were killed between 1994 and 1997.
- Andrew Brimmer, chairman of the Control Board, said in 1997 "The
Police Department today is suffering from deep cynicism, low morale, and
- A study in 1997 revealed that more than 100 police officers had
criminal records and couldn't testify in court.
- Another study in 1997 showed that crime increased 33% from 1985 to
1997 while the District's population shrank by 13%. And the same study
showed that DC police officers ranked at the bottom in eight of nine
categories of law enforcement.
Since 1997, reported crimes have declined by 14% and the total number of
crimes is the lowest total for any five-year period since 1965. Most
major categories of crime including homicides, robberies, and aggravated
assaults are all lower today then they were in 1997 before Chief Ramsey
came to the District. That's an excellent overall record.
But the area I would like to concentrate on today, where I have more
direct personal knowledge of Chief Ramsey and his work, is the work the
Chief has done with the Department's Police Training and Standards
Board, the improved communication between the Police Department and
campus police forces since Chief Ramsey arrived, and the greater
emphasis Chief Ramsey has placed on police training and education.
The Police Training and Standards Board was created by the passage of
the Omnibus Police Reform Act Amendment of 2000. Its goal is to enhance
the quality and consistency of the Department's police officer selection
and training programs. The Board is composed of eleven members
consisting of two DC citizen representatives, the Deputy Mayor for
Public Safety and Justice, and representatives from the FBI, DC Superior
Court, US Attorney's Office, DC Office of Corporation Counsel, Chair of
the MUD Labor Committee, two representatives of the Department of which
the Chief is one, and a representative from the academic community which
is the seat I hold. I am Vice Chair of the Board and head of the
Selection working group.
Chief Ramsey has been actively involved in the work of the Training and
Standards Board and is absolutely dedicated to improving the quality of
officers recruited to the Department and improving the quality of their
training once in the Department. As we have been drafting and debating
recruitment standards, the Chief has played an active and vital role in
our deliberations. He was one of the first to advocate additional
educational requirements for new police officers. A requirement passed
by the DC Council that new recruits have at least two years of higher
education will go into effect at the beginning of 2004. The Board is
currently in the process of drafting new rules that will strengthen recruitment standards and pull them together in one place so that they
are easily available to find and understand. The Chief has been totally
supportive of this effort.
I would also like to note that relations between the Metropolitan Police
Department and District universities have improved significantly since
his arrival. There is close cooperation between the Department and the
Campus Public Safety Institute that provides training for campus police
officers. The Chief has also recognized that one in eight residents of
the District of Columbia are university students and has provided campus
police forces a seat in the Joint Operations Command Center (JOCC) for
times of emergency to assist in rapid communication between the JOCC and
campuses. The fact that one in eight District residents are university
students is very helpful to the District as the recent grant of almost
$94 million in funds from the Federal Government to the District to
alleviate budget pressures is based on population, so about $12 million
of the grant is directly attributable to the number of university
students who live in the District.
Also, a new task force has been created between the Department and local
universities to work on ways to provide expanded educational
opportunities for Metropolitan police officers at universities, to
provide additional instructional assistance at the Police Academy by
university faculty, and to create new programs to help potential police
recruits meet the new entrance education requirements to become DC
In conclusion, I think Chief Ramsey is a consummate professional and a
person of the highest personal integrity. There has been no whiff of
scandal surrounding him personally or in his professional dealings as
opposed to the revelations coming out of these chambers day after day
about other DC government agencies and their officials. As I hope I have
demonstrated in my testimony, his record is also excellent and the
District is a safer place since he arrived. And, based on my personal
experience, he takes the job of improving the Metropolitan Police
Department seriously, and is completely dedicated to doing so.
Members of the Council, Chief Ramsey is more than deserving of your
support. We ought to be extolling his virtues and doing everything we
can to convince him to remain as Chief of the Metropolitan Police
Department. His work deserves more than the proposed raise that amounts
to only about a 3% increase annualized over the past five years, but he
deserves at least that.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to present my views.
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