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Government and People
|US Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Columbia
555 Fourth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Dr. Andrew F. Brimmer
Dear Dr. Brimmer:
We are writing to you and each of the members of our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Partnership to outline a comprehensive, proactive and vigorous approach to addressing problems of both criminal wrongdoing and mismanagement within the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). At the outset, we should emphasize that we strongly support our partnership and the positive working relationship that has developed among the partners. It has been rewarding and, based on the substantial reduction in crime across the city, very productive. We must remain united and steadfast in our determination to accomplish our goal of making the Metropolitan Police Department a model of efficiency and effectiveness.
Although we all share the common goal of identifying and eliminating fraud, waste and abuse within MPD, and vigorously prosecuting any criminal wrongdoing, recent discussions among the MOU Partners have suggested that we are not in agreement in our approach to achieving this goal. In our discussions, various concepts have been suggested to address problems within MPD, including a Commission and an Independent Counsel. Most recently, the MOU Partners have focused on an Acting Inspector General for the District of Columbia to lead a task force of federal and local law enforcement personnel. We appreciate the need for strong action to restore public confidence. It must be understood, however, that the United States Attorney's Office cannot, and will not, support any efforts that will in any way supplant, impinge upon, place in a subordinate role, or otherwise interfere with the historical and statutory responsibility of the United States Attorney's Office to investigate and prosecute criminal wrongdoing in the District of Columbia. Indeed, as a result of its knowledge, experience, training, and expertise, we firmly believe that the United States Attorney's Office is best equipped to properly investigate and prosecute both federal and local crimes.
As you are aware, the United States Attorney's Office has been working with the FBI, MPD's Office of Internal Affairs, and the Office of the Inspector General for the District of Columbia in addressing allegations of criminal misconduct within MPD. It is this joint effort that resulted in the recent arrest of Lt. Jeffrey Stowe. We do not presume, of course, that recent developments mean that criminal corruption is rampant within MPD. There are many dedicated and professional police officers within the Department. Nonetheless, we recognize the need for increased vigilance in this Office and the law enforcement community to ensure that MPD is free of any criminal elements. Thus, we have decided to establish a Task Force focused specifically on the investigation and prosecution of any criminal wrongdoing that may exist within MPD. We intend to make a substantial commitment of resources and to redouble our efforts in investigating and prosecuting any criminal cases that may arise against police officers.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS CRIMINAL MATTERS
The Task Force will consist of representatives from the United States Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the MPD Office of Internal Affairs, and hopefully, the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General. As our contribution to the Task Force, the U.S. Attorney's Office will be represented by the Chief of the Criminal Division, the Chief of Public Corruption, the Chief of Transnational and Major Crimes and the Chief of the Superior Court Grand Jury Section, who will be actively involved in the Task Force effort and will ensure that any cases receive top priority and are handled effectively and expeditiously. In addition, two senior prosecutors will be assigned to the Task Force. Finally, the United States Attorney's Office will commit whatever additional resources prove necessary to implement a very aggressive policy in prosecuting criminal conduct by MPD officers and officials.
The FBI is also committee to the Task Force effort. Thomas J. Pickard, Assistant Director in Charge, Washington Field Office, is assigning ten FBI agents to the Task Force. In addition, we have obtained a strong commitment from Acting Chief of Police Sonya T. Proctor, who has pledged to enhance the currently depleted staffing of MPD's Office of Internal Affairs. As discussed further below, we believe that the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General could also provide valuable support to the Task Force effort.
In sum, the Task Force represents a very substantial commitment of investigative and prosecutorial resources to target criminal conduct within MPD. This plan was developed after consultation with, and with the full participation of, Wilma A. Lewis, the United States Attorney Designate for the District of Columbia, who is firmly committed to the Task Force effort. The United States Department of Justice, the United States Attorney's Office and the FBI strongly support this approach.
AN INSPECTOR GENERAL INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS MANAGEMENT ISSUES
We believe that the Office of the Inspector General for the District of Columbia can make a valuable contribution in addressing the apparently substantial management-related deficiencies within MPD. Accordingly, we would support the appointment of a talented, respected and independent Inspector General (IG) to lead that Office. Although the appointment of an Inspector General on an "acting" basis to focus solely on the problems with MPD has been suggested as an option, we believe that the appointment should be permanent so as to provide necessary stability to the Office of Inspector General. Moreover, we submit that the IG should fulfill his or her statutory responsibility not only to MPD, but also to the rest of the District of Columbia Government. Thus, while it would be entirely appropriate for the IG to oversee an initiative within the Office of the Inspector General that focuses on the management-related problems within MPD, we believe it would be a substantial mistake to ignore the equally important responsibility of the Inspector General to scrutinize carefully the operations of the entire spectrum of District Government agencies.
Under District of Columbia law, it is the duty and function of the Inspector General to identify deficiencies and recommend corrective action in a wide range of District Government operations. This is an important function because mismanagement and deficient systems result in poorly run organizations and also provide fertile ground for criminal conduct to grow and go undetected. Correction of such deficiencies is necessary to promote efficient and effective operations, as well as to assist in the prevention, detection and prosecution of criminal conduct of police officers. Further, if in examining these deficiencies the IG uncovers evidence of criminal activity, such matters must be referred to the Task Force. This approach is consistent with Section 1182.9(f) of Title I of the D.C. Code which provides: "In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this section, the Inspector General shall report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of Federal or District criminal law."
A WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE TASK FORCE AND THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
In sum, we believe that a two-pronged approach to address problems of criminal wrongdoing and mismanagement within MPD would be most effective. The United States Attorney's Office Task Force will vigorously investigate and prosecute criminal wrongdoing within MPD while the IG should review and analyze financial and administrative operations within the Department and make recommendations to correct any deficiencies. Further, any evidence of criminal wrongdoing uncovered by the IG must be referred to the Task Force. This reflects the customary relationship between Inspectors General and U.S. Attorneys across the country.
The exchange of information need not be one way. While grand jury secrecy restricts the disclosure of some information obtained during the course of a criminal investigation, there is often an opportunity for investigators to identify systemic weaknesses in agency management and operations. Such information would be conveyed to the Inspector General by the criminal Task Force. This regular and ongoing exchange of information would greatly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of both the Inspector General and the Task Force.
We hope that the MOU Partners will support us in our revitalized effort to investigate and prosecute criminal wrongdoing within MPD through the establishment of our Task Force. We also hope that the Partnership will adopt our suggestions regarding the role of the IG in promoting systemic, comprehensive reforms in MPD and the District of Columbia Government that will result in greater effectiveness and efficiency in District Government operations. As we have noted, we value our working relationship and wish to see it succeed in this very important undertaking.
MARY LOU LEARY
cc: The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
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