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OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JOINT HEARING ON:
"EXECUTIVE SERVICE COMPENSATION SYSTEM CHANGES EMERGENCY APPROVAL
RESOLUTION OF 2003," PR 15-212
"SEPARATION PAY, TERM OF OFFICE AND VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT
MODIFICATIONS, AND COMPENSATION SYSTEM
CHANGES FOR CHIEF OF POLICE CHARLES H. RAMSEY
AMENDMENT ACT OF 2003," BILL 15-273
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
MARGRET NEDELKOFF KELLEMS, ESQ.
MAYOR FOR PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
JUNE 17, 2003
Good morning Chairman Cropp, Chairperson Patterson, Chairperson Orange,
members of the Council, and distinguished guests. I am Margret Kellems,
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice and I am before you today to
testify on the "Executive Service Compensation System Changes
Emergency Approval Resolution of 2003," and on the "Separation
Pay, Term of Office and Voluntary Retirement Modifications, and
Compensation System Changes for Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey
Amendment Act of 2003."
I would like to start by explaining for the record the basic terms of
the resolution and legislation before you today. The Mayor has presented
these packages, the terms of which he believes represent fair
compensation for managing the 3,800 authorized sworn members and 802
authorized civilian staff of the Metropolitan Police Department to
achieve public safety results. Equally importantly, the Mayor believes
that these terms would be competitive with offers Chief Ramsey might
receive from other jurisdictions seeking to recruit him from his service
to the District.
As you know, Chief Ramsey's current base salary is $150,000 annually, an
amount he has made since he accepted his post in 1998; his current
pension is calculated at 2.5% of his salary times the years of his
service with the department. The resolution before you would increase
Chief Ramsey's base salary from $150,000 annually to $175,000.
Additionally, the legislation would increase the Chief's pension from
2.5% to 3.43% of his salary. I will discuss each of these two provisions
First, Chief Ramsey's salary has remained at $150,000 since he flrst
took his job in the District in 1998. As you know, over this period, the
salaries of the sworn members of MPD have increased at an average annual
rate of 4%. Had Chief Ramsey qualified for the salary increases that the other sworn members received, his salary
would be $182,500 this fiscal year. Put another way, if the Chief's
proposed salary were to be implemented now, it would represent an
effective annual increase of 3.1 % per year for the first 5 years of his
tenure, less than both the sworn members' annual increase, and, barely
above the rate of inflation over this time period, which was 2.57%.
Assuming both the legislative change were to pass and that Chief Ramsey
were to stay for the duration of the second contract period, the
additional $25,000 would represent the effective equivalent of an 1.5%
annual raise during his 10 year service to the City.
Second, the legislation before you would increase the Chief's
pension from 2.5% of his salary to 3.43% of his salary, times his years of service to MPD.
To give you a sense of how much this represents in concrete terms, if the Chief were
to retire at the end of the second proposed contract period with the current pension
provisions, he would earn approximately $44,000 annually in pension benefits. All other
things being equal, if the Chief were to retire under the new terms, he would receive
approximately an additional $16,000 annually in pension benefits. With his projected
earnings from pensions from previous employment with the Chicago Police Department,
this would provide Chief Ramsey with a total retirement package of 80% of his
pre-retirement income. This is consistent with a 2003 survey conducted by the Employee
Benefit Research Institute, which concluded that retirees generally require
between 70% to 80% of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.
The two other significant provisions of the proposed legislation are a
proposed second contract period of four years and nine months and a
provision authorizing the Mayor to provide up to six months of severance pay rather than the
current authority the Mayor has for three months of separation pay.
Finally, to add additional context to your deliberations on the pay
package, please consider the compensation provided to Chiefs in other
jurisdictions. I think there are at least two noteworthy points. First,
there are smaller or less challenging jurisdictions whose Chiefs earn
amounts comparable to Chief Ramsey's current salary. To name but a few,
the Chief of the Louisville, KY earns $145,000 annually; Boston's Chief
earns $160,000; and even the Chief of Montgomery County recently
received a salary increase to $160,000 annually. Second, there are
Chiefs in some cities who will continue to earn more than or comparable
amounts to Chief Ramsey with the proposed increase. Among those Chiefs
are those from Los Angeles, earning $226,000 annually; the Chief of
Virginia Beach earns $177,000 annually; and Miami, earning $173,000.
I want to turn from the provisions of the legislation and resolution
before you to the larger issue of the performance of the Department over
the past five years of Chief Ramsey's leadership. You may recall the
state of the Metropolitan Police Department in 1997. The Department that
Chief Ramsey inherited was unhealthy and broken in fundamental ways. The
cost of that disorganization was a police department that was
disconnected from and lacked legitimacy within the community, bred
discontented employees, and, failed to detect or respond to crime
Achieving these results required not only instilling a greater sense of
accountability throughout the Department, but making the investments to
correct the latent organizational and infrastructural problems. This is
an ongoing process, but to point out some of the most significant changes to date:
- When Chief Ramsey began, there was a police force of approximately 3592
sworn officers; of that total, only 1,171 were assigned to patrol
As of late May, of MPD's sworn complement of 3,624, 1,859 officers,
sergeants, and lieutenants were assigned to PSAs.
Recently, MPD has worked with Councilmembers Patterson and Chavous on a
shortterm goal of deploying 62% of the officers, sergeants, and
lieutenants to the PSAs to provide direct services. Chief Ramsey has
committed to deploying 100% of newly hired officers to PSAs and to
maintain a long-term goal of 60% in PSAs.
In 1998, on average, only 25% of calls for service in a PSA were
responded to by an officer assigned to the same PSA, effectively making
the prospect of community policing impossible.
Now, that measure of PSA
integrity is nearly double at 47.3%
- When the Chief arrived in the District, there was only the beginning of
a community policing model and problem solving policing strategy. While
the PSA model was developed in 1997, it was the first time since the
1970s that it had been revisited. But in 1998, there was little
structured community engagement in crime prevention and problem-solving.
Chief Ramsey developed the Partnerships for Problem Solving strategy and
implemented it in the PSA structure that had been recently created. In
the last 5 years, he has expanded that model to include
"Partnerships for Problem Solving" "train the
trainer" sessions to educate the community in community policing
and problem solving. Already over 150 community members have been
trained and more than 2,000 residents from every part of the District
have participated in Partnership for Problem Solving Sessions.
This spring, MPD launched the Youth Problem Solving Partnership to
engage 250 youth in the community problem solving process, intended to
strengthen young adults' capacity to be effective community partners now
and in the future.
More recently, MPD has expanded its effort, by holding a training for DC
residents who want to learn how to start or enhance "Orange
Hat" citizen patrol programs in their neighborhoods.
And as all of you know, the Chief is revising the PSA model to better
meet citizen needs through improved alignment with other city planning
and services and greater flexibility in deployment. Throughout this
process, he has solicited unprecedented amounts of public input.
In early 1999, the United States Department of Justice instigated an
investigation a possible pattern or practice of excessive use of force
by MPD members against citizens, which was reported in depth by the
Washington Post in November 1998. Shockingly, at that time, many
officers in the Department were not qualified to use their service
Now, all sworn members are required to certify with their firearms twice
a year. The Department has a nationally recognized Force Investigation
Team that investigates all uses of force by the members, and the uses of
deadly force in which individuals were injured or killed are down 62.5%.
When the Chief arrived, relationships with minority populations
including the Latino community, the Asian community, were strained or,
in some cases, non-existent.
There is now a Latino Liaison Unit, an Asian Liaison Unit, and a liaison
for gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. There is also a liaison
for the deaf and hard of hearing, and TTY machines are now installed in
all major units.
WORKFORCE QUALITY ISSUES
When the Chief arrived, the Department was not professionally
competitive because of a combination of salary or quality of the work
environment. In 1998, the Department was losing on average 23.5 members
per month, a rate higher than that at which the Department was able to
bring on new members.
Thus far in FY03, average attrition is at only nine per month, a 61 %
reduction. This is one indicator of the trend of organizational health,
which will also enable Chief Ramsey to hire up to the fully funded 3,800
When the Chief arrived, education levels among those who did enter the
department were not uniform enough to ensure that new officers would
have the skills necessary to do "problem oriented policing"
and create a pool of future managers.
Education levels among officers now entering the department are on
average 13.5 years, and by statute, that number will be a required 14
years in the near future.
- In 1998, there was no regular in service training program for officers,
an essential element for professional law enforcement entities.
Now, every member is required to have 40 hours of annual in-service
training. Working with Council, a Police Officers Standards and Training
Board is in place and developing instructor certifications, conduct and
selection standards, and benchmarking reports for member qualifications.
When the Chief arrived, the average age of the fleet was 10 years old.
The cars were in terrible condition and presented a poor image to the
The average age of the fleet is now only 3.5 years and there is a
standard replacement cycle for all vehicles.
- In 1998, police facilities were in abysmal shape: there were backed
up sewers in some District stations; non-functioning air conditioning
units; little to no security; and even basic administrative equipment
such as copy machines and supplies like toilet paper were not available.
Chief Ramsey has managed the investment of millions of dollars in
facilities throughout the City. District police stations have been
renovated to make them more efficient and customer-friendly, and the
department has opened community facilities and substations.
- One of the biggest weaknesses in the Department when the Chief arrived
was the information technology system. It was in a state of crisis. The
Department's main records management system resided on a 25-year-old
mainframe computer-the last of its kind in the country-that was
unreliable and frequently broken. As a result, patrol officers could not
always depend on getting information, on such topics as wanted persons
and stolen property, to do their job. On the investigative side,
detectives complained that the department's investigative and
intelligence system, WACHS, was difficult to learn and sometimes failed
to save their reports. Some detectives refused to use it. Access to
information systems from the districts was hampered because the
communications network (MPDNet) could not handle the load that had
developed over the years. District personnel reported that logging on to
MPDNet sometimes took more than 30 minutes. Few computers had internet
access and there was no reliable email system. Officers could not
communicate with each other through the few mobile data computers (MDC's)
and the MDCs were not connected with the department's
computer-aided-dispatch system. The 911 center technology had not been
improved in several years and the phone switching system used to relay
911 calls to the operators was no longer serviced or supported by its
- MPD has implemented improved central and line-level technology, which it
continues to build on. The antiquated mainframe system has now been
replaced with a stable, current IBM platform. The MPDNet has been
upgraded to allow less than 10 minute logins. Six hundred cruisers now
have mobile data terminals from which they can communicate directly from
car-to-car and connect to the CAD system. Centrally, MPD's Joint
Operation Command Complex enables real time crime analysis and police
deployment to make informed crime-fighting decisions. There is now an
integrated, state-of-the-art CAD system supporting both police and
FireEMS. There is a Department-wide reliable email system and full
internet access. The WACHS system is now upgraded to a user-friendly,
stable Windows platform. The homicide division has a case management
system. A "google-like" search engine, called Columbo, now
allows investigators to search, retrieve and link information from
various criminal databases. There are other IT improvements that further
demonstrate the enormous strides the Department has made in this
All that I described demonstrates some of the significant improvement
that Chief Ramsey has made in what was a very broken department. Chief
Ramsey has gone about his organizational reform focusing on producing
public safety outcomes -reduced crime, decreased use of force, reduced
traffic fatalities, professionalizing the work forcethrough investing in
the Department's assets, both human and capital. Investing in the
infrastructure of the Department was the necessary first step to
transforming a dysfunctional agency. To the public, however, the most
important metric of the Chief's success is not the amount of
organizational reform, but the results achieved through them. Over his tenure, the Chief has delivered results.
Overall crime is down 14 percent since 1997 and preliminary numbers
suggest an additional decrease this year.
Homicides are down from 301 in 1997 to 233 in 2001, but most recently,
have risen slightly to 264 in 2002.
Violent Crime since is down since 1997 by 14.9%. Property Crime is down
14.7% since 1997.
- The argument has been put forth that by using a different base year,
MPD's improvements are less significant. If you use the most robust measure
possible - the total actual number of reported crimes - the Chief's
tenure represents the lowest five year total in approximately 30 years of official crime reporting.
- Traffic fatalities are down 21 % since 1997 because of bold enforcement
programs by MPD, bucking the national trend moving in the opposite
- MPD is recognized as a leader in managing large events including holiday
celebrations, marches, parades, protests and demonstrations. Since 1998,
there have been hundreds of demonstrations, which collectively have
involved hundreds of thousands of individuals. Probably no other
jurisdiction in the world has to manage that quantity of major events
and has done so with MPD's success on a regular basis.
accomplishments have only been possible because of the organizational reforms Chief Ramsey has put into place. Under Chief Ramsey's
leadership, the Metropolitan Police Department has a robust performance
management system. Many of you may have seen first hand the way in which
the Department now uses the most current technology to measure its
performance not only month to month and week to week, but day to day.
Before I close, I would add that being the Chief of the police
department of the Nation's Capital carries with it a greater degree of
responsibility and risk than in most jurisdictions. As host to the
federal government, our police department helps provide protection to
the president, vice president, and to dignitaries from all over the
world. As the beacon of democracy, our city carries a higher risk of
terrorist attack and requires a higher level of training, vigilance, and
preparedness than any other city in this country. Chief Ramsey has
demonstrated his ability to carry out these functions in these
challenging times. Despite the increased focus on emergency preparedness
in the District since September 11, Chief Ramsey continues to focus on
his primary duty: protecting the day-to-day safety of the District's
Since accepting the position, Chief Ramsey has done what he was charged
to do: invest in the organization and infrastructure to achieve better
public safety results. By no means do the Mayor or the Chief believe
that the work is done reforming MPD or lowering crime enough. Both the
Mayor and the Chief recognize that there is still much work to do to get
this department where we all want it to be. We want lower crime, higher
case closures, greater presence in the street, better service to victims
of crime, and a 911 system that meets our demands for efficiency,
responsiveness, and customer service.
The Mayor does believe, however, that Chief Ramsey has built a much
stronger organization than existed five years ago, a department that is
seeing lower crime and greater community legitimacy. The Mayor also
believes that Chief Ramsey is the right person to continue to lead this
organization into the future.
I thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and I look
forward to answering any questions you may have.