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Government and People
|Sally Ruth Byington 1231 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Good afternoon, Chairman Evans, members of your committee, and staff.
My name is Sally Byington. I reside at 1231 Maryland Avenue, NE. My neighborhood is part of PSA 5-11, with PSA 5-10 across the street from me. I would like to address you with a different slant -- please bear with me.
Confusion. Alienation. Money Troubles. Family/Unit Breakdowns. Pursuit of Illegal and Immoral Activities. Power Grabs. Arrogance. Anger. Depression. Cumulative Stress. Flight. Fear. Secrecy. Deception. Suicides.
Words that can be applied to man and institutions. Realities that brought hundreds of thousands of men to the Mall last Saturday for the Promise Keepers, "Stand in the Gap". Men: seeking repentance, transformation, new directions, and relationship with their God, their Saviour, Jesus Christ, their wives and children, and with each other. Men: supported by women, children, pastors, church families, and communities. Men: led by the Holy Spirit to come to Washington, D.C. to a sacred assembly, Men: open, humble, compassionate, joyous, praising, and committed.
Words that also have been applied to the Metropolitan Police Department - a paramilitary, traditional institution that is the process of transforming itself. Recently, it secured its independence from a controlling power, obtained additional monies from local and federal authorities, and was given a mandate to change into a community-oriented, problem solving, professional police department.
So, what's wrong? Why have the two dominant stories in the past two weeks been the Promise Keepers and MPD? Such contrasting stories they are. Today's hearing will recount numerous negative tales. Mismanagement. Illegal Activities. Community shut-downs. Congressional hearings with no public witnesses or testimonies allowed (except for businesses or members of Congress). Continued secret meetings by the MOU Group and the well-paid consultants (paid with our tax dollars) with access denied to most members of the Council and the community. Manufactured statistics that don't add up to the reported numbers of crimes (burglaries in a sector of ID for September '97 were totaled downtown as 23 while 3 of its PSAs had 11, 5, and 14). Commitments to communities violated when beat leaders were pulled overnight to go to the Homicide Unit (that action alone sent a signal, wrongly or rightly, to the individual community members that they really do not count).
To quote Randy Phillips of PK: Too high a view of the power of man and too low a view of God.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
There is hope. Yes, many citizens are outraged, and rightly so. Many others are encouraged, even in troubled communities. The difference is in the individual beat sergeant, in his or her attitude, knowledge, understanding, and leadership. Some of these new "PSA chiefs" are institutionalizing problem solving methods coupled with community empowerment and, even, using the community as more than incident relaters and "call you when I need you" citizens. People close to despair from years of being held captive by criminals who held sway over them are turning out for meetings. Perhaps, the thin blue line in cooperation with the other Federal law enforcement officers, US Attorneys and the like who want to help us and MPD can become promise keepers and stand in the gap with us through the hard days ahead until our city is saved?
I've been on record for years with lots of suggestions. Please hear today not my words, but the Word:
. . . clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility -- as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance -- toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud -- the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful, and opposes, frustrates, and defeats them, but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5
MS. ALICE P. BUSH
September 25, 1997
Chief Larry Soulsby
Inspector Reginald Smith
The group of members of the H Street Northeast Task Force (PSA 510) who were present at our neighborhood watch meeting on September 18, 1997, waited until the meeting nearly ended for Sgt. Groomes or one of her officers to attend. Mr. Sandy McCall called 5-D and discovered that Sgt. Groomes had been transferred to Homicide. We were concerned about her and were shocked at that news. We are requesting Sgt. Groomes be returned to PSA 510 and our neighborhood for the following reasons:
She has proven herself to be a superior, outstanding officer who has earned the respect of the community. She is a very good manager who knows how to get things done.
She is trained and skilled in her field and she is a sincere and diligent worker and pursuer.
Her plans and ideals have started to work -- let her finish them.
Never before during my 14 years of working with the community have I seen changes like the ones she made and they are beginning to work in this neighborhood.
She does her job when it comes to arresting -- she is firm in this area. She is also human, fair and honest. She is a people-person which is needed In this line of work.
Persons who were privileged to get to know her and work with her admire and appreciate her.
After she was assigned to Beat 153 (now PSA 510) the streets became cleaner, the young men and women who were blocking up the streets near the banks and stores were not permitted to continue as usual. We Senior Citizens were beginning to feel comfortable walking the streets in the H Street area.
On August 26, 1997, at Pilgrim Baptist Church and also at the meeting at 5-D, my under standing was that maintaining continuity was one of the reasons for forming the new system. Continuity is key in doing things well. I know change has to be, but at least let the good things get a head start.
Which makes more sense or is better for the neighborhood: to lock up individuals, have them sit in jail doing nothing, learning nothing and be returned to society worse than they were before they went to jail or to try to prevent crime? Sgt. Groomes was working to improve community relations and prevent crime and keep people out of jail.
No one had the courtesy to send an officer to inform us of Sgt. Groomes' transfer.
Sir, I am praying that the "Earthly Powers that Be" in Law Enforcement be lead, guided and directed and all of their actions be in line with the Holy Spirit's wishes. I am also praying that the transfer does not completely destroy the morale of the officers especially the better ones.
I request a copy of this letter be placed in Sgt. Groomes' official personnel record.
COMMUNITY POLICING COUNCIL OF CAPITOL HILL
MEMORANDUM OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1997
Last night PSA 510 and the H Street Task Force met at 7:30 pm at the Seniors' Building (Capitol Towers) on 900 G Street NE for our regular, monthly meeting (for several years in existence). Many of our regulars were at school meetings, church choirs, etc. but a good group assembled.
Not one person from MPD showed up. We proceeded, thinking an officer would arrive shortly. When none did, Sandy McCall called SD and was told that Sgt. Groomes had been transferred to Homicide and that Sgt. Cusick was her replacement. Sorry.
Sorry? We're sorry that once again community trust has been violated and betrayed. We cannot continue to "rob from Peter to pay Paul".
It was the understanding of PSA 510 that their sergeant would be "theirs" for at least one year, preferably more. We can try to understand why talented officers and officials might be transferred to the troubled homicide division, but what about troubled communities? In the three PSAs in this neighborhood, crime has come down, at least Part I reported crimes. Yet, we are faced with a combustible culture of criminals, drugs, disorder, and corruption. In three small PSAs -- S10, 511, 512 -- there are 13+ homicides this year!
Trust has been violated and lost. The way it was handled was pitiful and devastating to the residents. Many citizens, of all backgrounds and races, are questioning whether their communities really count, are the Georgetown homicides driving the engine, is there any real hope for community policing to be institutionalized, eta?
No excuses are acceptable. Honest, open dialogues with the affected PSAs and districts may begin to repair the breech.
By unanimous resolution we opposed Sgt. Groomes transfer and vowed to continue to monitor this and related situations.
METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
I formally regret to advise you that I have been transferred from the Fifth District to the Homicide Division, located downtown. I was notified at the last minute on September 18, 1997 to report Immediately to my new assignment, without a transition period.
I was not happy with the transfer, for I have always been in the Patrol Division and I feel that Patrol Service Area 5-10, in which you reside, is developing into a new positive neighborhood. was assigned to the Fifth District for just a brief period, however, the citizens that I have met, especially you, have made a significant difference to the beat and contributed greatly to the reduction of crime in your area. You have made a difference and made me extremes motivated to serve you in the best way possible. All of you should be proud of your accomplishments and I feel honored to have worked with some ofthe best citizens in the District of Columbia. I will miss the Fifth District tremendously and especially the citizens I have met.
Take care and God Bless!!!!
Sergeant Diane Groomes
COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
OVERSIGHT HEARING ON THE
STATEMENT OF NORMA M. BROADNAX
The Fifth District C.AC has adopted a new approach in the conduct of its monthly communit meetings in order to provide the members with information on the different Patrol Service Areas (PS.A s). To begin. we are inviting PS.\ Sergeants to be presenters at our meetings, at the September meeting the following officers were the first: Sgt. Brian Hubbard. PSA 502. Sgt. Ronald Netter. PSA 507. and St. Curtis Williams, PS.\ 509.
To say the least we were very impressed with their presentations, which were completely unrehearsed. Thev were fluent and managed to convey a personal excitement about the work which they are doing in their areas. and impressed us with the innovative ways they each approached and solved problems. And. as has been noted in the past the major concerns in each PSA were very different from each other.
I strongly support Chief Soulsbv and the Metropolitan Police Department because I know how hard the majority of them work. These officers are out there giving it their all in apprehending criminals. Given the chance, I believe that this policing concept can work to the benefit of all. I have heard comments from citizens in the Fourth District as well as in the Fifth District who say that it is working.
Moving on to other matters. I have some concern as to the extent other MOU Partners are coming together to make this piece work.
Specifically, have the courts and the Office of the U.S. Attorney begun streamlining processes for the officers? I hake concern regarding time spent in court by officers. I also have concern regarding the scheduling by the l:'.S. Attorney for witness conferences.
Finally, while much has been written and said regarding the new policing model I, for one, would like to hear some updates on the other SIOL Partners.
Thank you for the opportunity to put my statement on record.
Norma M. Broadnax
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